The team behind the controversial Waterworks Festival planned for Leyton Marshes defended their event from strident public opposition.

Waltham Forest Council’s licensing sub-committee is currently deliberating whether to grant the electronic music festival a three-year licence following a virtual meeting on May 12.

Those who oppose the two-day festival, which would occur in August once a year for the next three years, claim it would disturb nearby wildlife, including protected species, and residents.

However, the Waterworks Festival team say they are experienced event managers and will use sophisticated technology to prevent noise pollution and conduct reports on the impact on wildlife.

'Our wildlife is simply too precious'

Abigail Woodman, one of around 350 people to oppose the application, said she had “no doubt” the noise of the festival would disturb protected bird species in the neighbouring Waterworks Nature Reserve.

She told the committee: “Loud music will affect birds’ ability to hear, mask their ability to communicate, disrupt their behaviour and startle them. The London Wildlife Trust agrees.

“The application should be turned down, our wildlife is simply too precious to do anything else.”

London Wildlife Trust’s director of conservation Mathew Frith previously wrote to the council to say “the scale, type, timing and location” was sure to impact wildlife.

Other residents objected that noise and an influx of revellers would cause a public nuisance, referencing previous events in the area that had made their lives “unbearable”.

Rika Bunder told the committee: “Sound travels long distances in this area, funnelled from the floor of the valley by the prevailing wind.

“The [2018] Holi Festival was horrendous. Every person in this area could hear every word of every song, even with the doors and windows closed.

“Plus, there was the noise and chatter of those leaving the gig for up to an hour afterwards.”

Adam McAlavey, who lives just 500 metres from the site, added that previous events had left the community dealing with “litter, vomit and urination in the streets”, as well as “people behaving in a disorderly manner”.

'We stand and fall on our last event'

However, the Waterworks team insisted their application should be judged on its own merits and would not repeat the failures of other events.

Director Thomas Paine, who also works with Love Saves The Day, an annual music festival entering its ninth year in Bristol, said his team was experienced holding events without disturbing nature or the community.

He told the committee: “Local residents have some real concerns because there’s been a badly-run event here and they are passionate about the site but I’m confident in year two they will say it was a really well-run event and it worked.

“In Eastville Park [where Love Saves The Day is held] the nearest resident is 50 metres away and we had just seven noise complaints over the weekend.

“There will be not just one but two environmental reports to locate any area where birds are nesting and clarify what time of year they are used and we will plan accordingly.

“We take this responsibility really seriously, we come back year after year. This is our job, we are professional event organisers and we stand and fall on our last event.”

He added that the event would be using high-tech speakers to create “very contained sound fields”, in part because the event hoped to attract an audience of “audiophiles”, which would limit disturbance to those outside the site.

Waltham Forest’s service manager for air quality and environmental protection said he felt there would be no public nuisance if the event was held in accordance with the application.

The festival would include 30 to 40 DJs across five stages playing house, techno, disco and funk from 11am until 11.30pm.

Tickets sold on Resident Advisor range from around £20 to more than £50, the majority of which are sold out, with a £1 donation added to help offset the event’s environmental impact.

The council will issue its decision on the application by May 19.

East London and West Essex Guardian Series:

For more breaking news, local headlines and features, ‘like’ our Facebook page.

We also have a Twitter account: @ELondonGuardian

Follow us to keep up-to-date with news in Waltham Forest and Redbridge.