Motorsport to return to public roads after new regulations introduced

Motorsport events will be able to take place on public roads again after new regulations came into force.

No motorsport events have taken place on public roads in Scotland since the death of three people at the Jim Clark Rally in the Scottish Borders in 2014.

Events were previously held under private legislation, however organisers were unable to continue arranging suitable insurance policies to cover them.

Following a consultation, the Scottish Government introduced new regulations to better support motorsport and enhance public safety.

The new regulations create a two-stage process for event organisers to apply for a permit from the relevant roads authority in order to hold an event on closed public roads.

Michael Matheson
Michael Matheson said the move will ‘help usher the return of major sporting events’ to Scottish communities (Andrew Cowan/Scottish Parliament/PA)

Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said the move will help to provide balance between ensuring event safety and recognising the economic benefits of holding such events.

“We have a proud tradition of motorsport in Scotland and this Government recognises the need to balance the potential for economic benefits and public enjoyment from motorsports with a high degree of safety,” said Mr Matheson.

“We have listened to motorsports governing bodies and taken steps which will simplify the consideration of events by creating a robust and proportionate framework for the authorisation of motorsport on public roads in Scotland.

“We know that motorsports can be dangerous and that the risk needs to be correctly assessed and managed, however this step will help usher the return of major sporting events to our communities, boosting local economies and help to continue Scotland’s rich legacy in motorsport.”

David Richards, chairman of Motorsport UK, welcomed the introduction of the new regulations.

He said: “This is fantastic news. Closed-road events help organisers take motorsport to new audiences and this legislation will create a wealth of opportunities for everyone associated with motorsport in Scotland from competitors, volunteers and fans, to communities and businesses who will benefit economically from hosting local events.

“The response to the public consultation was overwhelmingly positive and a clear demonstration of the passion for motorsport in Scotland.

“At Motorsport UK we are committed to making our sport more accessible, in all its forms.

“For the first time, laws are now in place to allow closed-road events in all four nations of the United Kingdom, providing a wonderful opportunity to engage and inspire the next generation of motorsport fans.”

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