NOVEMBER 20, 2006

F1 venue hits noise trouble

Villagers at Elvington, a small community close to York in England, have won a partial victory in their fight to stop Formula 1 testing at the Elvington Airfield. This year there have been 16 tests at the old aerodrome but Judge Kristina Harrison has now ruled that there can be only 10 a year. The City of York Council had come to the aid of the villagers and other noisy events will also be curtailed and residents given a month's warning. The airfield was ordered to pay costs. The decision has been in the courts for several months. The hearing was told that the McLaren F1 team mioght leave Britain if testing was banned - a rather odd claim given the huge sums of money recently spent on the team's headquarters in Woking.

F1 teams use the circuit for aerodynamic mapping tests, which are needed to check that windtunnel results are correct. Elvington was chosen because it has one of the longest runways in the country, stretching for 1.9 miles. This was originally built by the United States Air Force in the 1950s when it was thought it might be needed during the Cold War. It was handed over to the Royal Air Force in 1958 and was eventually sold to a private company called Elvington Park Ltd, which has developed the site with a Yorkshire Air Museum, which includes the only complete Halifax bomber in the world, an annual air show and a popular motorsports venue for bikes and cars.