UPDATE: Lower sound limits call for Wild Life festival

W24C wild life festival in Shoreham on June 6/7 SUS-150906-135634001
W24C wild life festival in Shoreham on June 6/7 SUS-150906-135634001

A REVIEW of the licence for Wild Life festival triggered by noise complaints was considered by councillors on Tuesday (October 28).

The Shoreham Society had called for lower sound limits to be imposed on the two-day event at Shoreham Airport, after a survey of 142 residents found 24 per cent rated noise levels as ‘unacceptable’.

But organisers SJM, along with Adur District Council’s environmental health officer, argued the levels were suitable, with SJM arguing reducing them would jeopardise future events.

Addressing the council’s licensing committee at the Shoreham Centre, society member Ray Chandler said: “There is lots of scope to reduce the level that will enable full enjoyment but significantly reduced disruption to residents.

“We think it is a perfectly reasonable thing to ask on behalf of the people who have protested about the noise.”

The licensing review heard from members of the public, the society and SJM, which brought along a licensing lawyer and sound expert.

The society believed the sound limits outside the festival walls should be reduced from 75 decibels to 65 decibels.

Central to its argument was its survey, which they suggested could be extrapolated according to established research methodology to represent the wider view of Shoreham.

But SJM refuted the claim and said the ‘only evidence’ on the table was dissatisfaction of less than three dozen residents.

Simon Taylor, acting on behalf of SJM, said: “What is the basis of this review when it comes down to it? It is a survey over two weeks.

“There were 142 responses to that and there were 34 who didn’t complain of nuisance, they simply said levels were ‘unacceptable’.

“That isn’t an allegation of public nuisance, it is simply saying it is ‘unacceptable’, which is clearly very subjective. On the other hand we have the majority, a very significant majority, that didn’t find the noise unacceptable.”

Questioning the society, councillor Pat Beresford said: “The majority of people you surveyed don’t agree with what you have said. The majority of people are quite happy.” Mr Chandler defended the survey and was backed up by several residents who spoke at the meeting.

They reiterated the claim the noise was ‘unacceptable’, mentioning the thump of bass which caused disturbance.

Others praised the festival and said it was ‘good’ for Shoreham.

Jim Griffiths, director of sound consultants Vanguardia, told the committee work was underway to introduce new speakers at future events, which would reduce the bass levels.

He said reducing the limit to 65 decibels would mean limiting on-stage limits to less than 95 decibels, which would cause many artists to refuse to play.

The council’s environmental health officer had supported no change to the 75 decibel limit, saying the noise was ‘not excessive’.

Measurements at complainants’ homes were taken during the event, with decibel levels between 55 and 65 decibels.

The society argued the conclusion of the officer ‘didn’t hold water’ based on their experiences and explained the cumulative effect of noise throughout the day became an intrusion.

Mr Chandler made a final plea to the committee to consider a compromise limit of 70 decibels – which he said would fit with SJM’s limit on-stage.

The committee considered its decision in private and did not announce a verdict on the night.

To read our live coverage of the meeting, see reporter Oli Poole’s Twitter feed here