New legislation will give local authorities the power to stage motor sport events on public roads for the first time.
Speaking at the official opening of the new Williams Formula One factory in Oxfordshire, Prime Minister David Cameron confirmed Government plans to relax current restrictions, as long as relevant safety considerations are observed.
“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,” announced the PM at the ceremony in Grove.
“As part of our long-term economic plan, we are backing our world-leading motorsport industry to support jobs, enhance skills and help us to build a more resilient economy.”
Local authorities can currently authorise road closures for sporting and leisure events, but not for motor racing, and they cannot suspend the Road Traffic Act, meaning speed limits, traffic signals, and road legal-vehicle regulations are still enforceable.
The Coalition hopes this initiative will help boost the economy when it comes into effect, much like this year’s Tour de France, which kicked off in the UK and saw an estimated 3.5 million spectators line the streets over three stages.
If the same pull can be achieved for motor sports, this latest legislation is predicted to be worth as much as £40 million to local communities over the next five years, with the industry expecting to hold up to 20 events nationwide each year.
What's your view on local councils closing roads for motor sport? Are there any roads near you that would be great for a rally stage or even a F1 grand prix? Let us know in the comments section below...