Minister clarifies vehicle tampering proposals for motorsport and classical vehicles

No intention to prevent legitimate activities or impact businesses

During a debate on vehicle tampering legislation in Parliament on Monday 25 April 2022, Transport Minister Trudy Harrison MP clarified the Government’s position on motorsport, and historic and classical vehicles, stating:

“The intention behind our proposals is to prevent tampering that can have serious consequences for health and the environment. We have, however, issued a clarification that we do not intend our proposals to prevent legitimate motorsport activities, restoration, repairs or legitimate improvements to vehicles such as classic cars and motorbikes. We also do not intend our proposals to impact negatively on businesses involved in such activities.”

The debate was called after 115,000 people signed an e-petition to not create and implement proposed new offences for vehicle tampering, raised during a government consultation in 2021 on modernising vehicle standards.

Speaking during the debate, James Sunderland – MP for Bracknell and Co-Chairman of the APPG for Motorsport – asked  asked the Minister to clarify how any new rules governing vehicle modification would be implemented and what modifications are classed as legitimate, stating: “it can never have been the Government’s intention, when drafting these proposals, to cause the demise of the motorsport and classic car industries … we must be able to let this industry continue, as to let it fail would be a crying shame and cost us dearly over the coming years.”

Sunderland called on the Department for Transport to work with the APPG for Motorsport, industry bodies Motorsport UK and the Historic and Classic Vehicles Alliance, as well as motor manufacturers and those with specialist expertise across the UK, in preparing the legislation to “to make sure that we do not do ourselves real damage.”

In response, Transport Minister Trudy Harrison said: “the UK has a very long and proud history of companies and individuals dedicated to the modification and improvement of vehicles, whether in motorsports, professional customisation, or enthusiastic owners enjoying their hobby and improving their pride and joy.

“I agree with a lot of what I have heard today, including on the importance of ensuring that we allow for that continued healthy aftermarket for vehicle modification, and that our plans do not negatively impact on our thriving motorsports.

“Members can absolutely be reassured that the proposals will not prevent all forms of vehicle modification … We are carefully considering the scope of the policy, to ensure that it does not prevent legitimate alterations or modification, including repair work.”

The Minister also made clear the changes will not be applied retrospectively.

To read the debate in full, click here.