The campaign for closed road motor sport chalked up a massive victory today after the Prime Minister revealed that local councils will be given the power to temporarily suspend the Road Traffic Act.
David Cameron made the announcement while on a tour of the Formula One Williams factory in Oxfordshire.
“I can announce today that we are going to enable more road races for GB motor sport,” he said. “We have a great tradition of motor sport in this country and today we are bringing British motor racing back to British roads.”
The announcement means that speed limits and traffic signals could be suspended during approved events as early as Spring 2015, and there are hopes that the decision will pave the way for events in the style of Monaco’s Monte-Carlo Grand Prix, which would currently fall foul of British law.
Local authorities already have the power to close roads for sporting events, such as the recent Tour de France, but are unable to suspend the Road Traffic Act.
The campaign has been backed by Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone, as well as former Formula One Champion Jenson Button, who have long held a desire to organise a London Grand Prix.
However, Ecclestone seemed cautious: “The news is good, but I don’t know whether you’d have street racing because it’s not cheap to put on something that’s safe.”
“If they ever get it together then we’ll see what happens,” he added. “At least it’s a good sign, a step in the right direction.”
The new legislation could see a number of events revived, such as the Birmingham Superprix, a road race held in the centre of Birmingham from 1986-'90. A parliamentary bill was needed in order to for the meet to take place but, from Spring 2015, no such obstacles will be in place. It would also give the green light to organisers of historic events in the style of Italy's Mille Miglia, and could breathe new life into countless defunct historical trials.
The change is set to feature in the Deregulation Bill, which will be put in front of the Commons by Autumn this year.