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Councils to get powers to stage motor sports events

Local authorities will be given greater powers to stage motor sports events on public roads, as long as relevant safety considerations are undertaken, following a government consultation.

Prime minister David Cameron announced the news during the official opening of a new Formula One Williams factory in Oxfordshire.

Councils 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.

However, during the consultation on the issue of extending local powers, almost four-fifths of respondents were in favour of the proposals. In fact, the majority of those in favour of the plans acknowledged the “economic boost which would be given to communities and were in favour of supporting the growth of UK motor sport and associated industries”. 

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.

“This move will allow local communities across the country to reap the benefits from staging elite motor sports events.”

Currently in the UK around 9,000 motor sports events each year are 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.

Culture secretary Sajid Javid said: “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.”

(c. AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

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