Motorsport events on the public highway?

The government is seeking views on a proposal to permit motor sports events on public roads.

From yesterday (27th February 2014) until April 10th, a consultation by the Department for Culture Media and Sport, will ask opinions from a broad variety of bodies drawn from sectors which include policing, tourism, business, other road users and motorsport.

Local Authorities already have the power to authorise a road closure for sporting and leisure events on the highway under the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984. But they are not allowed to close public roads for motor races or trials of speed, unlike Authorities in Ireland at the Isle of Man. The proposal is therefore to remove this restriction and allow local authorities to close public roads for any sanctioned motor sport event, if they wish, which bring benefits to motor racing sport and to local communities.

The Motorcycle Industry Association strongly supports these proposals.

Proving such events would be of financial benefit to the local community seems key to a positive outcome and would be necessary in each case where an event was to be held. It is anticipated these could be numerous and motorsports groups are urging enthusiasts to get behind the proposal and make sure their voices are heard by government, describing this as a ‘once in a lifetime opportunity’.

• This would put the UK on an equal footing with other European countries and strengthen the UK’s position as a world leader in the motor sport industry, promoting our manufacturing and high tech engineering skills. At the moment 8 out of 11 Formula 1 teams are based in the UK.

• The Motor Sport Industry makes an important contribution to the UK economy, with an estimated annual turnover of £9bn in 2012, employing 41,000 people. This would rise.

• The motor sports industry have provided evidence to show that there could be a demand to hold up to 20 on-road motor sports events around Britain each year, generating up to £40m in income for the host communities during the initial 5 year period.

• Opening the roads for motorsport will provide opportunities to volunteer at events and therefore increased social capital. This is a common phenomenon for those currently taking part in family motorsport such as Enduro or Motocross. This will encourage an enhanced sense of community and pride in those areas staging events. These benefits can lead to indirect benefits to local businesses.