The Motor Sports Association – governing body of four wheel motor sport – has welcomed the launch of a government consultation regarding a proposed change in the law that would allow motor sport events to take place on closed public roads in Britain.
The Road Traffic Act states that it is illegal to organise or take part in a race or trial of speed on the public highway, but the MSA has been pushing successive governments to devolve power to local authorities to enable them to suspend the Road Traffic Act without having to resort to an Act of Parliament.
Such an amendment would enable competitive motor sport events such as stage rallies, sprints and hill climbs to take place on closed public roads, as already happens across mainland Europe, in Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.
The MSA is now calling on the motor sport community to respond to the consultation and demonstrate the huge groundswell of support there is for these proposals. The governing body has produced a guide to the process and template answers to some of the questions posed by the consultation. This can be found on the MSA website: www.msauk.org/uploadedfiles/newsletter/ClosedRoads.pdf
Rob Jones, MSA Acting Chief Executive, hailed the consultation as a huge step forward for the MSA’s long-running closed roads campaign:
“This is the news that British motor sport has been waiting for. It represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to change the landscape of our sport, allowing local communities across the country to host motor sport events and enjoy all the excitement and economic benefit they bring.
“However to make that vision a reality, we need everybody involved with our sport – competitors and volunteers, clubs and organisers – to respond positively to the government consultation before the 10 April deadline.
“The government’s enthusiasm for motor sport, and its launch of a public consultation, reflects years of hard work behind the scenes. It’s now up to us all to grab this chance to take the closed road campaign a big step closer to the finish line.”
Sir Jackie Stewart OBE, three-time F1 world champion, said: “I whole-heartedly support the initiative to introduce the opportunity for motor sport to utilise appropriate public roads for sporting events. The British motor sport industry is one of the UK’s most successful enterprises and we indeed lead the world in this field. There are many other countries that use their roads on a temporary basis for significant sporting events that attract worldwide interest. In many cases it can even progress safety standards on those same roads for the benefit of the general public and all road users. The MSA (Motor Sports Association) are very conscientious regarding all matters involving safety.”
Nigel Mansell CBE, former F1 world champion, said: "I have seen first-hand the very significant impact of motor sport on the economy of the Isle of Man and Jersey, so this would be a great move forward for the sport and would bring visitors and pride to parts of the country that wish to stage such events. I am delighted that this government is embracing motor sport which will assist the UK's world-leading position, and improve the sport's ability to help provide opportunities and focus for young people."
For further quotes from motor sport, the industry and local authority figures please click here: www.msauk.org/uploadedfiles/Closed_Roads_Quotes.pdf
For a Q&A on the subject please click here: www.msauk.org/uploadedfiles/Closed_Roads_Q&A.pdf
For the MSA guide to the consultation and suggested responses please click here: www.msauk.org/uploadedfiles/newsletter/ClosedRoads.pdf
For the Consultation Document please click here: http://bit.ly/1mHgBq3
27 February 2014