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MSA calls on motor sport to oppose forestry sell-off
The Motor Sports Association is mobilising the UK motor sport community in opposition to the coalition government’s plans to sell off or lease the public forest estate in England.
 
The proposed changes represent a very real threat to the continuance of motor sport activity in the forests. Last year, out of a total of 41 events held in UK forests, 31 were Stage Rallies, of which 14 were held in England. These events generated revenue in excess of £820,000 for the Forestry Commission.
 
The government’s online consultation process is requesting feedback about the proposals, but the MSA is also urging motor sport competitors, businesses and supporters to take up the issue with their local MP to illustrate the importance of continued forest access to UK motor sport.
 
“It is vital that everyone involved in the sport takes the trouble not only to fill in the consultation document, but also to make a personal approach to their local MP,” said MSA Chief Executive Colin Hilton. “There seems to be a great deal of unease on both sides of the House about these proposals, so we need to add our weight to the argument. Firstly, we oppose the sell-off in principle, but if it is to proceed, we need to protect not only access to the forests for motor sport, but just as importantly cost-effective access, otherwise the sport risks being priced out of using them in the future.”
 
The MSA has already been invited to meet with the Minister of State, Rt Hon Jim Paice MP, and will take its case directly to other relevant government departments to ensure that motor sport interests are championed and that ministers, advisors and civil servants are fully aware of the importance of forest access.
 
Next steps
1. Complete the government’s consultation paper.
WARNING – this consultation paper has been written in such a way as to make it very difficult to oppose the sell-off, so you might find it useful to read the very helpful explanation as drafted by Wigton MC Chairman Jim O’Neill who also happens to be Chair of the PCS Forestry Union for the North of England.
 
2. Download the MSA’s briefing document about the potential impact of the sell-off on UK motor sport and send it to your local MP.
 
3. If you wish, you can use the pre-drafted letter as the basis for you letter to the MP.
 
4. Add your name to the petition to Save the Forests at www.saveourforests.co.uk or www.38degrees.org.uk
                             
 
Download the relevant documents here.