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There are new hopes that the very long standing quest for closed public roads for British rallying is near to success.  

RAC Rally 1963, start of closed road special stage in Lulworth, Dorset. (Photo: Martin Holmes)The latest development is that approval for each application to close roads for motorsport purposes no longer needs inclusion within an Act of Parliament.  

Now it has been ruled that consent for closing roads for competitive motorsport purposes can be vested within local authorities, who have the power to give the necessary approval to waive the normal speed limits in force on those roads.   

It is widely expected that the benefit of this new rule is to allow short stretches of public roads to be closed so that groups of short private roads can then be linked together to form longer, single special stages.  

The right to close public roads for non-competitive purposes exists.  

The full implications for the new change, however, will not be clear until Scottish authorities issue their recommendations after the fatal Jim Clark Memorial Rally accident.  

It is interesting to remember that three of the four special stages used in the 1960 RAC Rally, considered to be first time roads were used for special stages in Britain, used asphalt public roads in remote parts of Scotland, the fourth being a gravel forest stage.  

The British federation is hoping that a trial rally run under the new rules will be held in East Anglia in early autumn.
- Martin Holmes  

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