Government to Loosen up Road Race Regulations?
Friday, 01 August 2014
We hadn't quite pictured the Prime Minister as a petrolhead, but David Cameron announced that he's keen to see more motorsport on British roads. Although UK councils might still be struggling to fill in their backlog of potholes, new plans confirmed by the government mean that they could soon be able to change highway regulations for special motoring events.
It's currently illegal to race or hold speed trials on a public highway or road without the OK from parliament. But, according to the BBC, a government consultation has decided to give local authorities the power to suspend speed limits and traffic regulations so that UK motorsport events can become more commonplace.
Speaking at the opening of a new Williams F1 factory in Oxfordshire, Cameron commented: “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."
“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.” he added.
According to Auto Express, it's hoped that the initiative will boost local economies much like the visiting Tour de France did, when around 3.5m spectators took to the streets in support.
But the idea that British roads would be fit for high-octane pursuits might seem a bit optimistic, especially given the hundreds of car insurance claims caused every year by potholes and poor road conditions. In fact, the Local Government Association (LGA) recently snubbed the government's £168m pothole repair fund as "a drop in the ocean" for councils who are "trapped in an endless cycle of patching up our deteriorating network".
If estimates are accurate, new road races could bring as much as £40m to local communities over five years. These funds could ideally make up some of the extra £1billion that the LGA has requested from the government in order to get roads in tip-top condition.
The new legislation should go to the House of Commons in autumn. If approved, it may not be long before our very own London Grand Prix overtakes F1 favourite Monaco...