CONSULTANTS called in to check noise levels from a clay pigeon shoot as part of a planning application were unable to provide accurate feedback on the impact of gunshots on nearby residents - because they were too quiet to be heard above other background disturbance like traffic, a report to Barnsley Council states.

The application is to hold shoots in woodland at Westwood, near Tankersley, every Sunday and planning permission is needed for that although the sessions can be held on 28 days each year without permission in place.

Farmer Alex Tue, who lives in Bromley near the site, has been operating the shoot for some time and now believes it is a viable business which will create jobs and has applied for planning permission, with details including a noise survey which was requested by the council.

Six locations were surveyed on one day while the shoot was being held but significant noise attributed to gunfire could only be detected at two of those, where there are no houses, which were included as a means of setting levels to compare the populated locations.

The summary of the report states: “On the morning of the survey, the sound of gunshot was largely inaudible in the villages of Tankersley and Pilley and the associated noise levels cannot be identified in the logged data.

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“The only possible conclusion is therefore that in this area, the noise generated by gunshot is quieter than the ambient levels due to road traffic and other local noise sources and activities.”

The application states it is believed only two complaints have been logged with Barnsley Council about noise from the shoot, both from residents in Pilley, although the matter has been discussed at meetings of Tankersley Parish Council, where councillors have questioned why enforcement action has not previously been taken by Barnsley Council to stop the shoots happening.

Noise survey work has been carried out to guidelines suggested by Barnsley Council and forms part of the application, which would see it go into use between 10am and 3pm each Sunday of the year.

Locations for the noise survey included locations which are densely populated in the centre of Pilley, the area where the complaints were generated, as well as outside Tankersley primary school.

The survey was carried out to meet guidelines set down by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and consultants Acoustic Design Technology have told the council in their report: “The difficulty is, however, that in the vicinity of the complainants’ properties, gunshot was inaudible, and cannot be identified in the measured data. It is therefore not possible to accurately determine the shooting noise level at these locations.”

They say the finding show noise from the shoot falls below the level where it would be considered a disturbance.

As part of the application, planners are contacting dozens of residents in the area, as well as a school, churches and businesses to ask if they want to make comment.

A range of other professionals are also being consulted including the business support organisation Enterprising Barnsley, the council’s footpaths and forestry officer and the Health and Safety Executive.