Local authorities have been given the power to close roads for motorsport events in legislation announced by the PM at Williams’ Advanced Engineering Centre.
The announcement follows consultation earlier in the year and means local councils can hold regional stage rallies, hill climbs and trial events without obtaining a Parliamentary Bill.
Currently, local authorities have the power to close roads for sporting and leisure events, but are not allowed to close them for a motor race, or to suspend the Road Traffic Act: speed limits, traffic signals and the requirement for a vehicle to be road legal are still in force.
With this change, that requirement would be temporarily lifted – the proviso being, of course, that relevant safety considerations are taken.
The motor sports industry “industry estimates that there could be demand to hold up to 20 significant motor sport events on roads around Britain each year,” said Prime Minister David Cameron.
Commenting on this year’s Tour de France UK stages, he said: “Hosting the first three stages of the most famous cycle race in the world is estimated to bring in over £100m to the UK economy and today’s announcement could generate an extra £40m over 5 years for local communities hosting motor sport events.”
Roads Minister Robert Goodwill added: “The UK currently hosts around 9,000 motor sports events each year organised by Motor Sport Association member clubs and the Auto Cycle Union member clubs with the vast majority taking place at purpose built venues or in remote rural off-road locations.” How this may change remains to be seen: many will be looking forward to the potential new events this legislation now makes possible.