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Written Statement - Amendments to the Deregulation Bill for motor racing on the public highway

Edwina Hart, Minister for Economy, Science and Transport

This written statement is laid under Standing Order 30 – Notification in relation to UK Parliament Bills.  

The Deregulation Bill was introduced in the House of Commons on 23 January 2014.  A number of amendments have been made to the Bill since its introduction. The relevant amendment for the purpose of this statement concerns permitting motor races to be held on public roads. The amendment was tabled by Lord Wallace of Saltaire at Committee Stage in the House of Lords on 1 August 2014. This amendment will modify the functions of Welsh Ministers.  

The UK Government has stated that its policy objectives for the Deregulation Bill are to reduce the burden of excessive or unnecessary regulation on businesses, civil society, public bodies, the taxpayer or individuals, and thus to facilitate growth.

The Bill is wide ranging and includes a number of provisions which relate to matters which are devolved in Wales, either within the Assembly’s legislative competence or relating to Welsh Ministers’ functions.

This statement concerns the amendment which would remove the ban on motor racing on public roads. The amendment will give the Welsh Ministers the powers to make regulations relating to motor races on the public road.

At present motor races and trials of speed are not permitted on public highways in the UK, except by a specific Act of Parliament. The UK Government is seeking to amend s.12 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 to remove the ban on motor races on the public roads and to amend Section 16Aof the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984, to remove the ban on closing roads for motor races or trials of speed.  

Under these provisions, highway authorities would be able to make motor race Orders, which would suspend the operation of certain road traffic laws to allow a motor race to be held on a (temporarily closed) public way. Before a race organiser can apply for a motor race Order, they must seek permission from a motor sport governing body. Welsh Ministers will be able to make Regulations specifying which motor sport governing bodies can issue permits for what type of races and trails of speed in Wales. Welsh Ministers will also have the ability to specify what information a motor race Order issued by a Welsh highways authority must contain by Regulation. These provisions also include a table of provisions within the Road Traffic Act 1988 and the Road Traffic Regulation Act 1984 that do not apply during a motor race which is being run under a motor race Order. Welsh Ministers would have the ability to add or remove provisions from this table by regulation.

The amendment is outside of the National Assembly’s legislative competence.  However, the regulation-making powers for Welsh Ministers described above would mean that the regulation of motorsport in Wales would remain within the purview of the Welsh Ministers, and we will give careful consideration to the potential benefits and disadvantages of motor racing on public roads in Wales in exercising that power.  I have, therefore, given my consent to the UK Government to seek to make provision for these Welsh Ministers’ powers in relation to the motor racing on public roads provisions in the Bill.  

It is considered appropriate for these provisions to be made by means of the Deregulation Bill, because the provision could not be made by Assembly Act.

This statement is being issued during recess as Standing Order 30 requires that a Written Statement must be laid normally no later than two weeks after the amendment has been tabled in the UK Parliament. However should members wish me to make a further statement or to answer questions on this when the Assembly returns I would be happy to do so.