PLANS to give councils greater powers to allow motorsport events on public roads in a bid to generate a multi-million pound boost for the economy have been unveiled by the Government.
The proposals, which will be consulted on, could generate up to £40m over five years for communities hosting the events.
While local authorities already have the power to authorise a road closure for sporting and leisure events on the highway they are currently not allowed to suspend the Road Traffic Act, meaning that speed limits, traffic signals and the requirement for a vehicle to be road-legal are still in force.
The consultation will ask for the first time whether that restriction should be removed so that local authorities could close public roads for a properly-sanctioned motorsport events, including races and trials of speed.
Roads Minister Robert Goodwill, who is the Conservative MP for Scarborough and Whitby, stressed the economic boost which could be brought about by staging the events.
He said: “Carefully-managed motorsport events are not only great fun and popular, but they make a valuable contribution to the economy.”
The motorsports industry estimates that there could be demand to hold up to 20 significant events on roads around Britain each year.
Culture Secretary Maria Miller said: “The excitement and buzz of motorsports attracts a legion of dedicated fans and drives investment.
“Looking at whether local authorities should be able to close public roads for road races and other motorsports could mean millions of extra pounds going to local communities.”