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Council steps in to help keep car rallying alive

 
Created on 21/06/2016 @ 08:20
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Powys County Council has joined the fight to keep car rallying alive in Mid Wales.

The council says that National Resources Wales(NRW) plans to double the cost of using Welsh forestry roads could jeopardise the future of world-famous rallying event Wales Rally GB.

The council says the NRW plans could put future rallying events held in the county and across Wales at risk and could also hit the local economy.

Rallying pumps millions into the Montgomeryshire economy every year, but there are serious doubts about its long term future due to rising road repair charges proposed by NRW.

The council will be writing to the Welsh Government with their concerns and will also raise concerns directly with Natural Resources Wales, who are not a statutory member of the Public Service Boards.

Cllr Barry Thomas, Leader of Powys County Council, said: “The motorsport community has expressed deep concerns about these plans and have indicated a dramatic increase could result in Wales, and in this case Powys, becoming unattractive for hosting rally events.

“This could force event organisers to move the events to England and Scotland, especially as the Forestry Commission has renegotiated contracts with the Motorsport Association and limited any increase to 0.7% from the previous rate.

“The Motorsport Association claims that the researched economic benefit to the rural Welsh economy from rallying is approximately £15million a year. 

“We are very fortunate that the majority of events across the principality take place in Powys, with more events held in the county in one year that in all other Welsh councils put together.

“One of our strategic objectives is the economic well-being and regeneration of our communities and these rallying events are very important to the Powys economy.  The income generated for Powys businesses by rallying and other sporting events are essential if we are to build a thriving economy.

“We have been working with the Welsh Government over the past year to produce a policy for motorsport within Powys that provides clarity to motorsport event organisers, whilst also ensuring they comply with highway legislation.

“This is to try and promote as many safe motorsport events within the county as possible so that our rural assets can be used to benefit the local economy while ensuring residents and visitors remain safe in the countryside.

“We need Wales and Powys to have a ‘can-do’ approach, where events and businesses are encouraged to grow and thrive. It is essential that we make the most of our many natural assets.  It would be a great shame if this work was undermined by a policy that might have the opposite effect of increasing income by driving activity out of Powys, and Wales.

“We will be writing to the Welsh Government now with our concerns.  We will also raise our concerns directly with Natural Resources Wales, who are not a statutory member of the Public Service Boards.”

 

 

 

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