Motor rallies were described as “ridiculous” by a councillor who said that cars’ days were numbered.
Green councillor Sue Shanks made the comments in light of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s announcement of an end to new petrol and diesel cars,
She spoke as councillors discussed future motoring events in Madeira Drive, Brighton, at a “virtual” meeting of the council’s Tourism, Equalities, Communities and Culture yesterday (Thursday 19 November).
Councillor Shanks also said that the 125-year-old Veteran Car Run was a lovely event.
But, she said, motoring events harmed people in terms of pollution and congestion.
She recalled a time when she was in New Road, Brighton, when a Mini in flames careered down the street before crashing and burning out.
Councillor Shanks said: “A Mini rally seems to me ridiculous. I think a lot of these are. We love our history but we also recognise that the world has changed.
“We have to recognise that not all of these events are not suitable for the era where we are trying to combat pollution and congestion in our city.
“I know this is not a universally held view but it’s my view.”
She said that she owned both an electric car and bike.
Councillor Shanks added: “They are not the solution either in the long term but they are a solution in the short term for quietness and lack of pollution.”
At the meeting, the committee gave “landlord’s consent” on behalf of Brighton and Hove City Council for a full programme of events in Madeira Drive in 2021.
The meeting also debated a report on the future of motoring events in Madeira Drive in response to Conservative councillor Robert Nemeth.
Councillor Nemeth had called for a deeper look into the contribution such events made to Brighton and Hove after the seafront road was closed to cars during the first coronavirus lockdown in the spring.
He wanted assurance that motoring events would continue in the future after he did not receive confirmation at an earlier council meeting.
His request also followed a move by Green councillors to stop new motoring events, as well as comments at other council meetings calling for an end to races and rallies on the road.
He said: “One element of the overarching concerns is the road itself may not be configured in a helpful way to motoring events when Madeira Drive’s future is finally set out.
“The Brighton National Speed trials is the most famous example, the oldest motoring race on the planet, and the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, the old crocks, which has gone on since 1896 and is the longest-running motoring event of all motoring events.
“There are probably dozens of events. With this in mind, it is worth highlighting the annual economic contribution of these historic motoring events which probably runs into tens of millions of pounds.
“Of course hotels, B&Bs, shops and attractions and all sorts of other local businesses benefit. The effects are far-reaching.”
The council’s head of sport and leisure Ian Shurrock said that the outdoor events team was working with the transport and major projects teams to ensure future changes had a “minimal impact” on the events programme.
The report before councillors said that there were no viable alternatives to staging or finishing major motoring events in Madeira Drive, which can be closed for up to 28 day each calendar year.
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