Transport Scotland has launched a new consultation on motorsports on closed public roads.
Four years after three spectators were killed at the Jim Clark Rally in the Scottish Borders when a car lost control, the Scottish Government says it recognises the need to balance the potential for economic benefits and public enjoyment from motorsports with a high degree of safety, both for spectators and road users.
Local authorities and the Scottish Government already have the ability to authorise the closure of roads for sporting, social or entertainment events to be held on public roads but this power does not extend to motorsport events.
Transport Scotland is now seeking views on a possible application process, involving motorsports governing bodies and local authorities, to allow motorsport events to take place on closed public roads in Scotland.
“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,” Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, Michael Matheson, said.
“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.”
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