Noise reduction measures taken at Chailey Common

Although 8 sheep were killed by dogs during the last grazing season, people are still bringing their livestock to Chailey Common in April. The residents, however, liken the noise produced by cars going over the cattle grids to that produced by oil rigs.

This is the reason why The East Essex County Council is willing to spend £63,000 to convert temporary chicanes into permanent ones, hence reducing this noise once and for all. The council knows that grazing is the only way of conserving the commons.

In order to stop the encroaching trees and plants, Hebridean sheep, Exmoor ponies, and Sussex cattle are being used as a biological control of these plants, since they fed on them. So serious is the issue that a public inquiry was set up in the year 2009, where the county council asked for permission, on behalf of the Chailey Common Management, to fence off the five commons making up the reserve, and allow grazing.

According to John Smith, Chailey Common Management Committee Chairman, This is a long-term solution, which has been found to be the best way of managing the site for wildlife, walkers and horse-back riders. This was echoed by the experts from Natural England, who also said that losing heathland would lead to the loss of wildlife that lived on it. Consequently, cattle grids were out up at the North Common Road, and Beggar’s Wood Road.

If invasive plants had been managed well in the past, this stop-gap measure would have been unnecessary. This is the opinion put forth by a resident who has lived in the area for 30 years, in a letter addressed to the Planning Inspectorate, some 3 years ago.

Another resident, incensed about the noise produced by vehicles as they go over the cattle grids, has vowed to fight this move. Kate Jenkins told the Middy, in January, New Forest, another area with cattle grids, had them designed in a rounded manner to reduce the noise. She claims that the council failed to do its background work, and has left the residents to suffer from the noise.