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Car flying through the air at track racing event

Forestry England asking for views on motorsport in the nation’s forests

Forestry England are reviewing motorsports in the nation’s forests and are inviting the sector and local communities affected to share their views.

They have already contacted motorsport national governing bodies throughout the UK, their own staff, and parish councils that have experience of motorsports on land Forestry England manage.

For decades Forestry England-managed forests have hosted a wide variety of motorsports from national rallies to grassroots entry-level club events and these have seen a decline in popularity over the last five or six years.

The three main areas of motorsport at the moment are: four-wheeled motorsport such as rallying and hill climbs; motorcycle sport, such as enduro and trials; and car testing – usually of rally cars.

The range of other recreational activities and sports along with the number of visits to the nation’s forests has been changing and growing too. Currently some 27 million people make around 235 million visits enjoying everything from a gentle stroll to adrenaline-filled high-wire experiences, and even husky dog training.

Bridgette Hall, Forestry England Head of Recreation explained;

“Forests and motorsport have been together for a long time. Some people’s first experience of a forest was watching a rally and local communities can benefit from the income they bring. In recent years we have seen a decline in the number of events and costs are rising: from hosting events to repairing forest roads.

“There’s also more people visiting the nation’s forests; increasing conservation programmes and a heightened awareness to the environmental impact of everything we all do.

“So we felt the time was right to review motorsport in the nation’s forests and ask clubs, representative organisations and local communities to share their opinions and experiences. We want to hear from people connected to the events to help inform our decisions.”

Anyone who would like to have their say in this review should email enquiries@ruralsolutions.co.uk by 30th September 2020.

Notes to Editor

  1. Forestry England manages and cares for the nation’s 1,500 woods and forests, with over 235 million visits per year. As England’s largest land manager, we shape landscapes and are enhancing forests for people to enjoy, wildlife to flourish and businesses to grow. For more information visit forestryengland.uk. Forestry England is an agency of the Forestry Commission.
     
  2. Rural solutions have been appointed to provide an independent review to Forestry England considering the place, purpose, economics, and strategic fit of motorsport within Forestry England’s brand and business. The review will include recommendations for consideration. Rural Solutions are specialist advisors working in the UK’s most special and sensitive rural places. Dawn Mercer, lead consultant for Rural Solutions has been involved in motorsport for many years and therefore brings a unique knowledge-base to determine a balanced and appropriate view across all aspects of motorsport in the nation’s forests. https://ruralsolutions.co.uk/
     
  3. The motorsport industry will be well represented by Motorsport UK and the Auto Cycle Union who will are being consulted for this review. The general public will be represented by local site management staff and parish councils.
     
  4. Media Contact: Stuart Burgess, stuart.burgess@forestryengland.uk