News & Views

Why haven't we heard of the IOPD before?

With around a century of club and international motorsport governance history, everyone has heard of the ACU and RAC / MSA. If you have a legal background or work for a Government or Local Authority you are likely to be aware of the IOPD and its founding officers. In 1988, they mounted a successful High Court and Court of Appeal action to sue a Local Authority for damages for closing down a successful motorsport facility. This established new legal precedents and dissuaded other Local Authorities from pursuing similar actions.

The team concerned then opened a new national Motorsport facility (which has subsequently catered for over one million participants). When the (then) RAC and ACU refused to recognise public participation in motorsport and motorcycling activities without the need for expensive competition licences, the team decided to form a new governing body for professional drivers and members of the public. With contacts with similar groups in the USA, Australia and Malaysia, the company applied to be recognised as 'International', this was duly accepted by Companies House and the International Organisation of Professional Drivers was formed.

When the system of authorisation was first devised, the Ministry of Transport asked the IOPD (which was originally formed to be the representative and governing body for stunt riding and driving, drag racing, power shows, speed events and other activities) to oversee commercial events and the relatively unorganised amateur activities and sports that were not already in membership of the RAC, the ACU or the other largely non-commercial club-based bodies. As a result, for over two decades, the IOPD has developed considerable experience in setting standards and authorizing events and venues against those standards.

The MSA issues permits to around 7000 events per year, ACU around 8000; IOPD is a governing body across some 37 different disciplines, including 4-wheel and 2-wheel motorsport events and it permits 15,000 days of activity per year with 151,000 participants. We largely do different types, and a vaster range of events.

The IOPD pioneers automatic Planning Permission for long established temporary venues

IOPD has been investigating acquiring full planning permission through 'established use' for auto, motorsport and leisure venues. If you're in this situation, here are some questions you need to be asking:

Has your organization used a venue intermittently every year for in excess of ten years?
Has there been a material change to the land from agriculture to auto leisure by fencing, circuit creation, bunds, temporary buildings, toilets, spectator bankings, pits, paddock etc and is everything permanently left on site between events?
Have there been any requests by the local council to remove any of these items after the events or to limit the site and its usage in the last ten years?
Has the land reverted to previous use (i.e. agricultural) in between events?

Click here for further information.

A Guide to Noise Abatement and other Directives.
The IOPD has published the above titled guide. Having authorised and permitted around a quarter of a million days of auto leisure activity and having been involved in bringing a successful Court of Appeal claim for a noise related motor sport activity injunction, the IOPD now makes its experiences available to other IOPD affiliates.

Click here for further information.

Regional event safety advisory groups
As a result of two major events where there were mass fatalities at Outdoor Stadiums, the resulting Public Enquiries have decreed that there be established Regional Event Safety Councils. These consist of a representative from the Police, Fire & Rescue, Health & Safety, Environmental Health, Ambulance Service and independent Health & Safety Consultants.

These Safety Councils meet privately to discuss and plan a consolidated approach to control and restrict future events which do not provide acceptable event safety plans, risk assessments and lawful Authorisation Permits.
Where there exists recognised Governing Body control of events, the regional Event Safety Councils are obliged to consult with those bodies to achieve an appropriate Event Safety Plan.

Where an event organiser has no recognised body to speak for them they are at the mercy of many powerful enforcement agencies.

To be erring on the super safe side the Event Safety Council may then require substantial extra provisions for public safety, which may make the event no longer financially viable. In time this may result in the closure of many of the smaller unauthorised events.

As a result this may leave organisers and authorised event promoters the chance to capitalise on the vacuum created by these closures.

Local protestors close unauthorised facility
In 1992 the IOPD published a warning that protesters wishing to stop an unauthorised motoring event may now put pressure on the police to stop events that may lead to criminal offences being committed i.e. unauthorised events.

The IOPD now understands that in 2009 a local Residents Action Group has lobbied their local Councils Planning Department, the Environmental Health Department and the Police Department that a long established MotoX venue was operating without a lawful Authorising Permit. It is understood that the police then advised the club and land owner that if they continued to operate unlawfully and there was an accident which required medical attendance, they would be prosecuted. The farmer then refused the club permission to hold events on his land for the foreseeable future. The Planning Department instructed the club to remove the circuit and jumps and return the land back to agriculture.

Click here for further information.

The IOPD Establishes voluntary register of Advanced Vehicle Control Trainers
After many years of defending Off Highway Event participant trainers from claims by 'Association of Driving Instructors' members and VOSA that only A.D.I. instructors may train car drivers including off road and in circuit racing, the IOPD has launched a voluntary register of Advanced Vehicle Control Trainers. This register is expected to be of use for sporting, competitive and employment related advanced vehicle control skills and the IOPD has laid down a protocol and certification system to recognise individual trainers skills and abilities when training participants at motoring events.

This establishes a parallel system under the Off Road Event Regulations 1992 to the on Road voluntary register of Driving instructors administered by the ADI

Insurers require Authorisation under RTA Regulations
In addition to providing Public Liability Insurance to Auto Leisure Event Organisers, one of the leading motorsport and auto leisure insurers has now gone further and offers a complete package of Risk Management, Public Liability Insurance and RTA Authorisation by the IOPD (subject to terms and conditions), so simplifying and streamlining legislation and good practice in one hit.

Click here for further information.

Health & Safety Newsletter for Local Authorities
In October 2005, the Health and Safety Executive summed up all the complex Guidance on the Off Road event Regulations 1995 by sending the following instruction to Local Government Enforcement Officers as follows:

'If an event is not authorised then it is UNLAWFUL and a police officer can be requested to stop the event at once’