With the public consultation part of the proposed 'closed roads' legislation now completed (at midnight on Monday 28th Jan) I wondered just what sort of response Transport Scotland had to their appeal for feedback. Naturally I asked quite a few questions, but I got only one solitary response.
A Transport Scotland spokesperson said:
"We have received in excess of 3,700 responses to the Motorsports on Closed Public Roads consultation. We are currently in the process of analysing this encouraging amount of feedback and plan to publish a report in the coming months.”
That is a huge response by any standard or measurement, especially in light of the fact that the Welsh Government only got a total of 76 replies to their public consultation. However, it then took them some ten weeks or so to publish their own report on their Consultation findings, so it will no doubt take the Transport Scotland team a wee bit longer to wade through this lot!
It would appear (from other sources) that the majority of returns were favourable. However, that would imply that there were still quite a few unfavourable replies. That means there is work yet to be done by motor sports to ensure we keep the general public onside.
Not that I am suggesting for a minute that there was a concerted campaign against this proposed new legislation, but there is a significant minority within the Scottish Parliament who are against anything petrol and diesel powered. They might well harbour a desire to single out motorsport as a particularly high profile example to vent their objections. No doubt these same folk will come up with other arguments against electric cars too, so we have to be on our guard.
However if you do come across such objectors, there is a simple argument to pursue. It's a fact that every sport and pastime uses road transport directly or indirectly, be it to carry competitors and fans to and from venues, or to transport materials. For instance, running and golf shoes don't walk into sporting goods stores and balls don't bounce into, or over, nets on their own. Taking this into consideration, motor sport is a very small part of the total miles covered each year by all sports and their participants and followers.
Then of course there is the wider issue of power consumption for machinery, floodlights, equipment and electronic scoreboards, not to mention the construction of arenas, stadiums and other facilities. Nope, we're ALL in this together.
If we have to cut back, then so has everyone else. However, I have asked Transport Scotland to be kept informed. When I do hear anything further, I'll pass it on.