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F1 NEWS 

Noise row temporarily closes Spa

Spa Francorchamps start 2009Belgian Grand Prix venue Spa Francorchamps has been reopened following the suspension of a ruling which temporarily closed the circuit because of noise complaints, AUTOSPORT understands.

The track was briefly closed in response to complaints raised by a not-for-profit anti-noise organisation whose name literally translates as 'the quiet ones'. Although the group originally lodged its objection in 2007, the local authorities did not take action until this week, when a 17-year closure order was imposed.

However, following a meeting of government officials, sources have said that the closure of the circuit has been called off pending further legal discussions to take place next week following Spa's decision to appeal against the decision.

This means that this weekend's blue riband Spa Six Hours historic event can go ahead, although a lasting solution to the noise disputes still needs to be found.

Circuit boss Pierre-Alain Thibaut admitted in an interview with Belgium's Le Soir that the situation "calls the whole viability of the track into question", but added that since the original complaints were made the track has made significant developments in reducing the environmental impact of its activities.

"Since the complaint was made, the situation has changed," said Thibaut. "The track has worked hard to reduce noise pollution and our relationship with local residents has been much improved."

Sources at Spa claim that the track complies with the stipulated noise limits, and are hopeful that the situation will not threaten the long-term future of the circuit.

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