STEP CLOSER TO SCOT TISH CLOSED-ROADS
The return of closed-road motorsport in Scotland has become more likely after the nation’s government has launched a phase which outlines the law that could be passed.
The ‘consultation phase’ is a period where the government invites the public to make its thoughts on a bill known and is necessary for all legislation.
Private legislation exists in Scotland, which is how the Mull Rally and Jim Clark Rally were able to run for so many years, but under that bill insuring the events has become impossible.
In England and Wales, the respective governments have already passed this legislation, which devolves the decision on whether an event can get a closed road permit to the governing body – in this case Motorsport UK – and the local authority relevant to the area of the event.
It has allowed the Tendring and Clacton Rally in England and Wales Rally GB to make use of closed-road stages in those countries.
The process in Scotland has been delayed. After deaths on the Snowman Rally in 2013 and the Jim Clark Rally, a fatal accident inquiry was launched and wasn’t resolved until 2017, delaying the start of Scotland’s attempts to push through the same change as made in England and Wales.
Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson said: “Scotland has a long and proud tradition in the world of motorsports and we recognise the need to balance economic benefits with safety considerations – both for spectators and participants.
“Following the tragic rallying accidents of recent years, Scotland has lost two major events from its sporting calendar and has been unable to host any motorsports on closed public roads. This is detrimental to local economies and something which we are seeking to address. We must be mindful that motorsports can be dangerous and that risk needs to be correctly assessed and managed.
“It is important that the people who understand the sport are put at the heart of this assessment and also to ensure that local knowledge is fully taken into account. That is why the Scottish Government is seeking views on a two-stage authorisation process which would allow decisions to be taken at a local level – empowering communities to hold events which benefit those locations and beyond.”
The Kelso area, where the Jim Clark Rally took place until 2014, and the Isle of Mull which held an event until 2016, have both campaigned for the return of those events for the hundreds of thousands of pounds they bring to the local economies.
Jim Clark Rally had closed-roads