Welsh rallying under threat from new forestry fees

Credit: @World / Red Bull Content Pool

Rallying in Wales could come under threat as the Motor Sports Association (MSA) continues talks with the Natural Resources Wales (NRW) to find a workable solution for all parties involved.

Last week the MSA confirmed deals for forestry fees in England and Scotland, but the NRW is seeking to increase costs, a move that the MSA say are “unworkable”.

Speaking to the BBC Former British rallying champion Gwyndaf Evans said “If these increases happen… there’s a danger that rallying may have to stop in Wales,”

“And that would be a tragic loss to all the competitors but also all the suppliers throughout the sport and to tourism in Wales.” he said.

MSA boss Rob Jones added: “Unfortunately, we have yet to reach agreement with NRW, which is currently seeking an increase that would be unworkable for rallying in Wales and thereby detrimental to the country’s hugely successful motor sport industry and also to the many local communities that benefit from the sport.

“However, we continue to work hard on behalf of the sport in Wales and with discussions continuing we remain confident of reaching agreement with NRW as soon as possible.”

The view from NRW head of enterprise David Edwell remains hopeful, “We have a long and proud history of staging rallying events in Welsh forests and are working closely with the Motor Sports Association to reach an agreement that will allow this to continue.

“It is, however, important that the costs we incur in preparing the forests for these events and repairing the roads afterwards are recovered so we can deliver the wide range of other services these areas provide to the people of Wales.”

The current fees remain in place in Wales until the end of May.