WORRIED residents have started a campaign against plans for a speedway track at Scammonden.
Greetland man Jeffrey Hayes wants to create the motorbike track on a council-owned former picnic site in a green-belt land of outstanding natural beauty.
Speedway -introduced to Britain in 1928 by Australian Johnny Hoskins - involves motorbikes without brakes or gears being driven on a dirt track.
But people living near the 10-acre site, which is near the Clockface quarry on the Kirklees and Calderdale border, are concerned the thrill-seeking sport could disturb their tranquil landscape.
They have formed a group called Action Against Speedway and are distributing posters and petitions.
Group leader Susan Russell, of Ringstone, near Barkisland, said: "The area is perceived as being out in the wilds. But people live there and the site is of ecological value.
"There are not many such sites in Calderdale and we should protect them."
She said noise would carry as the site is on high ground with no natural barriers.
She also said the access road will not cope with traffic generated by the speedway.
She said: "You can't have hundreds of people coming to an area without it creating noise and traffic. We are not happy about the proposal at all."
Hillary Wood, also from Barkisland, feels the noise from the speedway would disturb the peace for people living in the Upper Blackburn and Upper Ryburn valleys.
She said: "I'm appalled that Calderdale Council could consider a speedway track here.
"Our attitude is to make people aware of what the potential is."
The residents are being supported by Kay Barret, Calderdale ward councillor for Ryburn.
Mr Hayes says residents have got the wrong idea about the speedway.
He said: "The public perception is that it is a load of Hell's Angels tearing up the countryside. It's not, it's a family sport. We want children to learn about bikes in a safe controlled environment.
"Everything we have done we have done in the correct way.
"We have tried to keep it far out of the way so it won't cause people problems.
"A race lasts a minute and at a meet there may be 24 races. So that is only 24 minutes of noise, it is very low."
Mr Hayes has not yet submitted a planning application for the speedway.
First, the council must decide whether it is willing to sell the land - and this decision will not be made until the results of an ecological survey are revealed at the end of July.
He says that if this bid fails, he will consider looking at sites in Kirklees that can house his speedway team - the Halifax Dukes.
The Dukes used to race at The Shay - home of Halifax Rugby League Club - but moved to Odsal Stadium at Bradford until 1997.
Since then they have been dormant due to the lack of a suitable home.