APRIL 29, 2002
Keep it down Bernie!
THE rebuilding of the Paul Ricard racing circuit in the south of France, undertaken by a company owned by Formula 1 boss Bernie Ecclestone, was welcomed by the local communities as it seemed to offer the possibility of new jobs. Since testing restarted however things have not gone well. A group of locals have got together to establish an association to fight against noise pollution and want there to be a study of the impact of the noise. They do not want to close down the circuit but rather reach a better compromise on the number of days on which testing is allowed.
When Paul Ricard was still alive there was not much activity at the circuit, except for the occasional F1 test. The racing school machinery was apparently not loud enough to upset many people.
But since the sale of the track things have changed and things came to a head last weekend when four sportscars did an all-night test in preparation for the forthcoming Le Mans 24 Hours. This was greeted with outrage in the neighborhood.
The association says that it is also worried about the rebuilding of the aerodrome as the longer runway and a massive increase in the space available for parking aircraft and a vast new hangar is expected to attract more planes - and therefore more noise.
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