A LENGTHY planning dispute, which has been rumbling on for more than two years, is due to come to a close today, Thursday.

The final part of an inquiry into a clay pigeon shooting club close to Risley Moss started on Tuesday with Warrington Borough Council putting its case forward to inspector Martin Joyce.

Steven Smith, environmental health officer, raised a number of concerns about the level of noise at the Prospect Target Club which could affect livestock, wildlife and nearby residents.

He added: “No definitive research findings or any other evidence has been found to state what an acceptable noise level would actually be on the adjacent SSSI site.”

Mr Smith agreed with the developer’s view that there is a ‘sensible way’ of monitoring the impact of the shooting but, without knowing what an appropriate level is to set, any levels specified would be ‘guesswork rather than based on an informed and robust properly researched decision.

The site on Prospect Lane, which is also located near to a number of motorways and the Manchester to Liverpool railway line, already suffers from a certain level of noise pollution, the inquiry heard.

But Mr Smith argued that the noise from the shooting club would be ‘shocking’ and ‘impulsive’ rather than gradual.

Speaking on behalf of the appellant, Peter Goatley, accused the council of keeping Natural England ‘in the dark’.

The organisation, which aids the Government in matters of environment, food and rural affairs, has withdrawn its objections to the proposed site, claimed Mr Goatley.

He also added that allegations that two shots could happen at the same time and, therefore breach the sound levels that are deemed acceptable, are true but that there is a 40 million to one chance of that happening.

“You are more likely to win the lottery,” said Mr Goatley.

The hearing adjourned in November after proceedings took longer than expected.

The original application was refused by the council in February due to concerns over noise disturbance, which could affect nearby birdlife in Risley Moss.

The inquiry, being held at The Halliwell Jones Stadium, is expected to finish today with the verdict to be published in the coming months.