DRAG RACING has been banned from one of only two venues in the country putting on the motorsport due to noise complaints.

Epping Forest District Council has decided to completely stop the sport at North Weald Airfield after 25 years, leaving Santa Pod Raceway in Northamptonshire as the UK's sole provider.

While the council claims it has received a 'number of complaints about the noise', former drag racer and owner of Maitland Racing Tony Huck believes the issue stems from just one, made in May 2016 by a nearby landowner.

Mr Huck, who is responsible for the three to five drag racing events put on at North Weald each year, took proactive action when he was informed of the complaint a month later.

He said: "We moved the return track 100 yards away.

"We monitored all our noise levels last year and we had reduced them by 20 per cent when the wind was in our favour, and ten percent when it wasn't."

Despite his efforts and an offer to downgrade the vehicles on show to smaller-engined street cars, Mr Huck received a letter from the council early in 2018 telling him no more.

He added: "I just want the council to come round the table and have a discussion about this rather than keeping me out in the cold.

"All I want to do is run a few races a year."

In the last two days more than 3,500 people have backed Mr Huck, signing a petition calling for the reinstatement of drag racing at North Weald.

Signatory Shaun W wrote: "Keeping racing on a track and off the roads should be a priority for any council.

"This is a well established venue which encourages and promotes the safe use of high performance vehicles in a controlled environment.

"The council would do well to consider what resources it can deploy into promoting road safety when this event comes to them at no cost."

Samuel G added: "The simple fact that one narrow minded, selfish individual can ruin something that thousands enjoyed is disgusting."

In the past week a rumour has been circulating on social media that the noise complaint reasoning was an excuse so the airfield could be freed up for development.

A council spokesperson said: "As the licensing authority we have to lead by example. We cannot continue to do something we would not allow others to do and that sadly means an end to the drag racing events.

"That does not mean we are closing our doors to other events. The airfield is thriving and aviation is growing. It has nothing to do with housing or building development or developers.

"To be specific – North Weald Airfield is set to continue as an airfield. We have no intention to dispose or redevelop it.

"There is some modest potential for development in the Local Plan but only at the periphery. The council has repeatedly re-committed itself to retaining aviation at the airfield which necessarily means retaining the runways on which the drag cars raced.

"It is a shame they cannot continue but our hands are tied."

To sign the petition go to you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/epping-council-stops-north-weald-motorsport-drag-race