Local communities will be able to stage motor sports events on public roads, including stage rallies, hill climbs and trials of speed, the Prime Minister announced today during the official opening of a new Formula One Williams factory in Oxfordshire.
In response to a consultation that ran earlier this year the Government will now legislate to allow local authorities the powers to stage motor sport events, as long as relevant safety considerations are undertaken.
Prime Minister David Cameron said: “We have a great tradition of motorsport in this country and today we are bringing British motor racing back to British roads, to benefit local communities. As part of our long-term economic plan, we are backing our world-leading motorsport industry to support jobs, enhance skills and help us to build a more resilient economy.”
Following the huge success of the first three stages of this year’s Tour de France being staged in the UK, which saw an estimated 3.5 million spectators line the streets, todays move will allow local communities across the country to reap the benefits from staging elite motor sports events.
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. The motor sports industry estimates that there could be demand to hold up to 20 significant motor sport events on roads around Britain each year.
Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Motor sport has a huge following in the UK. These changes will provide more opportunities for fans to enjoy the sport locally and give a financial boost to local economies through the added benefits of tourism, shopping and spending.”
Local authorities already have the power to authorise a road closure for sporting and leisure events on the highway, but are not allowed to close the road for a motor race or to suspend the Road Traffic Act, meaning that speed limits, traffic signals and the requirement for a vehicle to be road legal are still in force.
Roads Minister Robert Goodwill said:“Motor sport events are great fun, extremely popular and make a valuable contribution to the economy. Allowing local authorities to organise carefully managed motor sports events is great news for the industry and will potentially benefit local communities around Great Britain.”
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.
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