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Road Races (Amendment) Act (Northern Ireland) Act 2014

Background and Policy Objectives

Motor racing on roads in Northern Ireland is facilitated by the Road Races (Northern Ireland) Order 1986.  It enables the Department for Regional Development to make road closing orders which suspend both normal use of the roads comprising the route of the race and certain aspects of road traffic law.

One of the premier motor cycle road races held in Northern Ireland, the North West 200, was cancelled in 2013 due to torrential rain which prevented the running of those races, other than two laps of the first race.  This was the second occasion in three years that the races, due to bad weather, had to be cancelled.  In addition, the Dundrod 150 motor cycle race in August 2013 and the 2008 Ulster Grand Prix were cancelled in similar circumstances.

It was not possible to re-schedule the races because the Road Races (Northern Ireland) Order 1986 does not permit that flexibility.  Consequently alternative dates or times from those quoted in the road closing order made to facilitate the event could not be used.

The major road racing events, such as the Ulster Grand Prix Week and the North West 200 Festival, provide major financial investment, attracting thousands of spectators from home and abroad.  An Economic Assessment of the 2010 North West 200 commissioned by the event organisers, The Coleraine & District Motor Club and prepared by “Tourism & Transport Consult International” of Bangor concluded that it attracted some 90,000 visitors during “Race Week”; that the net additional value in terms of the impact based on expenditure was £4.45m and that for every £1 of public monies spent there was a return of £30.21.

As a result of the considerable negative reaction caused by the cancellation it was thought desirable to consider introduction of more flexible arrangements.

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Text created by the Northern Ireland Assembly department responsible for the subject matter of the Act to explain what the Act sets out to achieve and to make the Act accessible to readers who are not legally qualified. Explanatory Notes accompany all Acts of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

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