Happy St George’s Day

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Legal Street Racing just Around the Corner

Birmingham Superprix held between 1986 and 1990

Could the next British Grand Prix be literally just around the corner from you?

New laws come into force on Monday, 10 April 2017, that will allow motor racing events to take place on closed public roads in England.

The move could see small races hosted by local communities, bigger European rallies or even a future Monaco-style Grand Prix in an English city, offering huge economic benefits to local communities.

Transport Minister Andrew Jones said, “Britain is a world leader in the motorsport industry and this will further cement our position.  There are already races of this kind in some areas of the British Isles, which are incredibly popular, attracting thousands of spectators.  New road races will boost local economies through increased tourism and hospitality, and offer community opportunities such as volunteering.”

The Motor Sports Association and the Auto-Cycle Union, the respective governing bodies for four and two-wheel motor sport in the UK, will be authorised to issue permits for the races.  They must consult the council, police and other local bodies and be fully satisfied that the event will be safe.  Local authorities have the final say over whether a race can go ahead, and may require additional safety measures before, during or after the event as a condition of allowing a race to take place.

Rob Jones, Motor Sports Association Chief Executive, said, “This is a seismic shift for UK motorsport, and one that the MSA and the wider motorsport community have pursued determinedly for many years.  We can now take motorsport to the people, and in turn those local hosting communities have the opportunity to benefit from the economic boost that these events may provide.”

Gary Thompson MBE BEM, Auto Cycle Union General Secretary and Clerk of the Course for the TT, said, “A lot of hard work has gone into making this happen.  Working with the MSA and the Department for Transport, putting this legislation in place will make a big difference to road racing in this country.  Obviously this will make road racing more attractive as new opportunities come along but also will have a positive economic impact on those areas staging closed public road racing which can only be a big plus for motorcycle racing and those areas wanting to host such an event.”

Nigel Mansell CBE, former F1 world champion, said, “I have seen first-hand the very significant impact of motor sport on the economy of the Isle of Man and Jersey, so this is a great move forward for the sport and will bring visitors and pride to parts of the country that wish to stage such events.  I am delighted that this government is embracing motorsport, which will assist the UK’s world-leading position and improve the sport’s ability to help provide opportunities and focus for young people.

The Government consulted on changing the law to allow racing on British roads in 2014.  There were 6,077 responses from individuals, local authorities, police forces and other organisations, with an overwhelming majority in favour of the proposals.

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New Rules to Prevent another Car Emission Scandal Approved

West Midlands MEP Daniel Dalton won backing yesterday from the European Parliament for new measures that will ensure vehicles continue to meet emissions and safety standards once out of the showroom.

The revised rules aim to prevent another vehicle emissions scandal, introducing greater oversight and independence of testing, and restore consumer confidence in the car market.

Under the new measures, national governments will be required to test 20 per cent of the car models on sale in their country each year.  These will be of various ages to ensure that the vehicle still meets minimum standards while in use.

Given the level of cross-border trade in the car industry and the advantages to the UK of mutual recognition of its cars across Europe, these new rules will likely form the basis of the UK type approval and market surveillance system for years to come.

After the vote, Mr Dalton said, “This vote will begin to restore confidence in our testing systems and in our car manufacturers.  This new system replaces one, which was at best patchy and at worst ineffective, allowing the car emissions scandal to be undetected for so long.

“No one measure can prevent fraud, but now any manufacturer who wants to try and cheat the system is very likely to be caught with the combination of these new measures, as well as the real driving emissions tests for new cars passed last year.  These new rules make sure that the cars on our roads are as safe and as clean as manufacturers claim them to be.”

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Meet the Mercian Ward Councillors on Saturday

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New Name and New Services at Tamworth Advice Centre

The service which provides free, independent, impartial and confidential advice to anyone in Tamworth who needs it has a new provider, a new name and more services, but it’s business as usual for the people who use it.

From Monday April 3, the debt and general advice service based at Marmion House in Lichfield Street will be renamed Tamworth Advice Centre and will be provided by Citizens Advice Mid Staffordshire.

The new provider will be bringing in a number of improvements, including a switch to an appointments system and more ways of access to the service for customers, including webchat and Skype.

Free digital skills workshops will also be on offer, giving customers the opportunity to gain new skills.

Tamworth Advice Centre will continue to use its own reception area in Marmion House, which is staffed from 10am to 4pm Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, and from 1am to 5pm on Wednesday. The telephone will also be answered from 9am to 5pm Monday to Thursday and 9am to 12noon on Friday for advice and appointment bookings.

The new number for advice and booking appointments with Tamworth Advice Centre is 03444 111 444 and the email address is tamworthadvicecentre@gmail.com.

Although the service is switching to an appointment-only system, people in crisis will still be able to drop in for emergency help and advice.

Dawn Green, Chief Executive of Citizens Advice Mid Staffordshire said, “I am delighted to be working closely with Tamworth Borough Council to be delivering this exciting new service. While core services will remain the same, it’s an opportunity for us to expand and enhance the advice provision available to Tamworth people.

“I am looking forward to providing a quality advice service for local people across Tamworth.”

Cllr Stephen Doyle, Cabinet member for Communities & Wellbeing, said, “The changes at Tamworth Advice Centre will provide greater flexibility, while continuing to provide the people of Tamworth with the help and advice services they need.

“The switch to an appointment-only system will give those using the service more time to discuss their issues without feeling under pressure, as well as reducing time spent waiting around.

“The new and improved service will offer an early intervention approach to resolving issues, which will reduce the numbers of people needing intensive support.”

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Calling All Knitters – You Can Help People with Dementia

The Tamworth Dementia Action Alliance and Cllr Andrew James are inviting knitters in Tamworth to pick up their needles and use their craft skills and creativity to help people with dementia.

As part of its ongoing commitment to raising awareness of dementia and working towards making Tamworth a dementia friendly community, the Tamworth Dementia Action Alliance – of which Tamworth Borough Council is a member – has launched a campaign to encourage people throughout the borough to knit Twiddle Muffs, which will be distributed to people with dementia and organisations, which help them.

Twiddle Muffs are double thickness hand muffs, which have buttons, bows, pompoms, zips and other bits and bobs attached both inside and out.  Some have pouches and pockets for hankies.  People with dementia often have restless hands, and the Twiddle Muffs provide something to occupy their hands, as well as providing visual, tactical and sensory stimulation and helping to reduce anxiety.

Kind-hearted knitters of all abilities are now being sought to create their own Twiddle Muffs and donate them to the cause.  A pattern for Twiddle Muffs, which can be created in any colour or variety of shades, can be found on Tamworth Borough Council’s website.

The completed Twiddle Muffs can be handed to staff at the Tourist Information Centre in Marmion House, Lichfield Street, where they will be collected together.  Donations of wool, buttons, ribbons, beads or any other items, which could be used to create and decorate the Twiddle Muffs, will also be gratefully accepted.

The Twiddle Muffs will be distributed during Dementia Awareness Week, which runs from Sunday May 14 to Saturday May 20.  There will be a number of events taking place throughout the week – with more details being revealed closer to the time.

Cllr Andrew James, Lead Member and Chairman of Tamworth’s Dementia Action Alliance steering group, said, “Tamworth Dementia Action Alliance is working towards making Tamworth a dementia friendly town.  This is a great way for the community to help people living with dementia feel supported and make Tamworth a better place for people living with dementia.

“I would encourage anyone who is able to support this campaign by knitting Twiddle Muffs, or to donate things to make them, to take them in to the Tourist Information Centre.  Your help and support will make a real difference to people living with dementia in Tamworth.”

The Twiddle Muffs campaign is just one of the many steps, which the Tamworth Dementia Action Alliance and Tamworth Borough Council are taking in the journey towards achieving dementia friendly status for the borough.

Dementia friendly communities aim to help people with dementia and their carers feel safe, supported and able to remain involved in community life.  There are more than 100 dementia friendly communities in the UK – and Tamworth is well on the way towards joining their ranks and achieving dementia friendly status.

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Meet the Mercian Ward Councillors on Saturday

Mercian ward surgery March 2017

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