LARA (Land Access and Recreation Association) have informed us that the Government has published a new Issues Paper which states that motorsport events (sporting trials, moto-cross, etc.) give rise to ‘significant concerns’, and invites comments and views on changing the ‘14/28 Day Rule’ under which most off-road sport is organised. Under the 14/28 Day Rule an event organiser does not have to apply for planning permission for the ‘change of use’ of the land, on the day of the event, from agricultural to motorsport. Having to actually apply would, say LARA, be an “enormous burden on clubs, farmers and planning authorities for no real benefit”.

Back in 2002 there was a similar Government consultation on restricting or scrapping permitted development rights (the 14/28 Day Rule) for motorsport. In response, LARA carried out a survey of all motorsport events on one ‘sample weekend’ in that year, and found that the Government’s consultants were confusing ‘cowboy activity’ and practice tracks with properly organised events. Following LARA’s submission to the consultation the proposal was not taken further. It looks like the time is here for a similar survey and petition.

LARA’s advice is that anyone who has an interest in off-road motorsport should respond to this proposal, stressing that Permitted Development Rights are essential to the continued running of a sport that now has over 100 years of tradition in the countryside, with over 5000 events a year in England and Wales. Properly organised events run to strict safety and environmental rules, and cause few if any problems. LARA has prepared a Briefing Paper on the issue and how to make a response. For more information, contact Alan Kind on [email protected].

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