STEP CLOSER TO SCOT TISH CLOSED-ROADS

Motor Sport News - - Rally News - Pho­tos: Jakob Ebrey

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

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