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    Government to hold consultations on tractor trailer weight and driving speeds

    NewsFriday 08 November 2013
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    The government is set to carry out a consultation, after years of NFU lobbying, to examine trailer weights and speeds. 
     
    The consultations will aim to gather opinions on increasing the weight and speed limits for agricultural vehicles. The increase in weight and speed limits could enable farmers to transport produce more efficiently. 
     
    Views will be sought on whether or not to increase the speed limit to 25mph, and also whether the weight limit for tractors and trailers should be increased. They consultation is looking to see if the weights should be increased to 31 tonnes, 33 tonnes or 3 tonnes - for tri-axle trailer with road friendly suspension. 
     
    There is also a proposal for a voluntary industry-led test, that would have to be taken for individuals to be able to qualify for the increased weights. 
     
    There are a number of other policy options that are to be considered by the consultations.
     
    Adam Quinney, the NFU Vice President, spoke on the union’s official website, saying: “We welcome this consultation as part of the Government’s commitment to cut red tape and bureaucracy. But it also recognises the hard work that our farmers carry out every day of the year to put food on the table.
     
    “The NFU has been campaigning for the weight and speed limits for agricultural tractor and trailers to be examined for many years. The current regulations, which were set decades ago, do not reflect the technological capabilities and carrying capacity of modern tractors and trailers.
     
    “While other farm equipment has got larger over time the restrictions on 21st century tractors and trailers has prevented the efficient transport of crops from the field. This inefficiency not only leaves us at a competitive disadvantage compared to other Member States with higher limits, but also, we believe has a corresponding negative impact on the environment and road safety.
     
    “We note the proposal for a voluntary industry-led test for those wishing to make use of the proposed higher weight limits. The NFU along with other stakeholders submitted a proposal to the Department for Transport in January last year with an outline scheme and proposed weights. Any test carried out needs to be proportionate to both the risk and the benefit in terms of the weight to be gained. It should also be at a cost that is not prohibitive.
     
    “We will be responding in due course, but would encourage farmers to make their own response to the consultation.”
     
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