South Scotland

MSPs back rules for rallying's return

Jim Clark Rally Image copyright PA
Image caption Three people died at the Jim Clark Rally in the Borders in 2014

MSPs have backed regulations paving the way for the return of motorsport on public roads in Scotland.

No such events have taken place since three people died at the Jim Clark Rally in the Scottish Borders in 2014.

The three deaths were ruled avoidable by a sheriff after a fatal accident inquiry in 2017.

Transport Minister Michael Matheson said the regulations provided a robust framework for holding motor events, with public safety at their heart.

He was speaking during discussion of the Scottish government proposals at its rural economy committee.

They would create a two-stage process to allow motorsports events to be held on closed public roads.

Provisional dates

Governing bodies would be given the power to issue permits for events.

That would, in turn, allow organisers to approach the relevant local authority to seek a motorsports event order in the second stage of the procedures.

The committee agreed to recommend that the new regulations should be approved.

The Jim Clark Rally has not been held on its traditional route since Iain Provan, 64, Elizabeth Allan, 63, and Len Stern, 71, died in 2014.

'New fixtures'

Organisers said earlier this month that provisional dates of 24 and 25 May had been set aside for a potential event this year.

A Motorsport UK spokesman said it was encouraged by the latest development which brought the sport's return "a step closer".

"The benefits of closed-road motorsport are clear; event organisers can take the sport to the people, while local hosting communities stand to reap the economic rewards," he said.

"These regulations would also pave the way for famous events like the Jim Clark and Mull Rallies to return, and for exciting new fixtures to join the Scottish motorsport calendar."

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