MOTORSPORT IN PERIL - a letter to The Times from Chris Aylett and Steve Kenward
03 Jan 2017
On 22 December 2016, The Times published a letter sent by the Motorsport Industry Association and the Motorcycle Industry Association criticising the “ill-considered” European Union directive that could require all vehicles to be insured even if they never leave private land.
The change in law would mean compulsory third-party injury and damage insurance for all vehicles involved in sports. Vehicles that are currently exempt from insurance, including mobility scooters, golf buggies, ride-on lawnmowers and Segway personal transporters, are also likely to be affected.
The Department for Transport said it was obliged to hold a consultation on the plans despite being uncomfortable about the reforms. In a consultation document published on 21 December 2016, the department said it would have to abide by the rules until Britain leaves the EU.
The letter from the two governing bodies states: “The government’s ill-considered proposals to revise motor insurance . . . will bring closure to all forms of motor and motorcycle sport across the UK . . . Insurers have made it clear to the government that such third-party risks for motor sports activities are uninsurable, not least because of the sheer number of potential vehicle damage claims that would arise. Implementing this ruling would, at a stroke, wipe out legal motor sport activity.”
The directive follows a case involving Damijan Vnuk, a Slovenian, who was hurt after falling from a ladder that was hit by a reversing tractor trailer. Insurance companies refused to cover the claim because it took place on private property and involved a vehicle being used as an “agricultural machine”. The European Court of Justice ruled in 2014 the accident should have been covered by compulsory vehicle insurance.
A DfT spokesman said: “We oppose any measures which impose an unreasonable burden on the public. We will use the consultation responses to get the best result for the country.”
Read the Times' article here
Read the letter sent to The Times (22 December 2016) :
Motorsport – “Golf Carts and Dodgems”
In a year when UK-Based Mercedes AMG have won the F1 World Championship following substantial investment in the UK, there is a sad irony to the legal position you report in your “Golf Carts and Dodgems” article today.
The Government’s ill-considered set of proposals to revise motor insurance in light of a European Court ruling, will bring closure to all forms of motor and motorcycle sport across the UK from Formula One to small local events, and signal an end to the world leading UK high performance engineering industry and motorsport which employs over 50,000 people with sales in excess of £11 billion.
The Government’s current consultation on this change to motor insurance rules, which has already been agreed by the EU Parliament and confirmed by the so called, ‘Vnuk’ judgement of the European High Court of Justice, extends compulsory third party injury and damage insurance to all vehicles of any kind when used on any type of land – which includes all motorsport throughout the EU.
The insurance market has made it clear to Government that such third party risks for motorsports activities are uninsurable, not least because of the sheer number of potential vehicle damage claims that would arise across the UK and Europe. Implementing this Vnuk ruling would, at a stroke, wipe out legal motorsport activity and destroy our successful industry and the jobs that go with it.
There should simply be no question of the UK Government implementing Vnuk in regard to motorsport, which is one of the options put forward by the DfT – even temporarily as they suggest.
The UK has voted to leave the EU and will do so as the Prime Minister often confirms. Her Government must draw a line in the sand on Vnuk by exempting motorsport from this ruling, or risk the closure of motorsports across the UK. The ramifications of this outcome for the British economy and jobs is simply too great to ignore.
Steve Kenward, CEO, Motorcycle Industry Association; Chris Aylett, CEO, Motorsport Industry Association