QUESTIONS have been raised  over changes to how Powys County Council (PCC) will administer licenses to allow motor sports events to take place in the county.

Members of PCC’s Economy, Residents, Communities and Governance Scrutiny Committee probed the issue at their meeting on Monday, January 13.

The protocol for allowing “motor vehicle events” affecting footpaths, bridleways and restricted byways needs to be updated due to legal advice received by the council.

Finance, Countryside and Transport portfolio holder Cllr Aled Davies, (Conservative – Llanrhaeadr-ym-Mochnant & Llansilin) explained: “Motorsport plays an important role in the Powys economy.

“The number of events in 2018 – we had 45 – and last year we had 30 crossing Powys.

“It’s about the safety of rights of way users and making the process for the motorsport as simple and straightforward as possible.”

Professional lead for countryside access and registration officer, Sian Barnes, added: “The difficulty at the moment is that during motorsport events the rights of way remain open for use by the public, they can walk cycle or horse ride during an event.

“There would be a risk to their safety even for a well managed event.

“The advice we were given from a barrister is that it would be wise to put temporary closures in place.

“There is the matter of cost, because the temporary closure would incur some extra work and costs, and these would be covered by the charges levied.”

Cllr Kelvyn Curry, (Liberal Democrat – Rhayader), said: “I have a couple motorsports organisations in my patch and I consulted them on this.

“They told me that although the law hasn’t changed for about five years, there is constant change to the protocol. There are amendments nearly every year.

“They are wary of more changes and want a period of calm.

“As a result of this they have told me that this requires extra work and from their point of view that means less events.

“I think that is reflected in the 30 per cent reduction in events from 2018, to 2019.”

“It’s quite a reduction in a two year period.”

Cllr Curry wanted to see the changes evaluated after a year and that no more changes should be made for five years to give organisers a “period of stability.”

Cllr David Evans (Independent – Nantmel) added: “We need to keep it simple, we do seem to bend over backwards for people from outside our area who organise events like the Women’s Cycling Race, not long ago.”

A stage of the OVO Energy Women’s Tour stage took place in Powys on Friday, June  14.

Cllr Evans added: “We should be supporting our local organisations  bringing benefit to our community.

“We put a lot of hurdles for them to jump through and it’s getting harder and harder for them.”

The review will go in front of the PCC cabinet for approval and is expected to be implemented from July 31, 2020.

Applications received before that date would be processed under the current protocol.