It may look and feel cold and drizzly now, but harvest will eventually arrive. As well as the heat, dust and long days, it means extra numbers of machines will be heading up and down Britain’s roads. But in all the rush to get ready for harvest, don’t forget to be road-legal too.
That doesn’t just mean checking that trailer indicators are working reliably and mirrors are clean and pointing the right way; it also means remembering about the pithily-titled Agricultural Vehicle Dispensation Scheme too.
PC Mark Bryant, an agricultural specialist with Suffolk Police, points out that the scheme gives increased flexibility to farmers moving large or wide loads on public roads. Vehicles up to 4.3m (14ft) wide can be moved without the need to notify police of what is technically an abnormal load movement. But instead of having to phone up every time you want to move a combine or large tractor from one field to another, the scheme allows farmers to escort their own machines, within a 25 mile radius of their base, using a farm escort vehicle.
What do you need to do? Speak to your local police force, says PC Bryant, ask for the abnormal loads department and they will help you. The certificate lasts for 12 months and covers all movements of the vehicles named by your business.
Why is this important? If you have an accident, points out PC Bryant, and it subsequently turns out the vehicle should never have been on the road in the first place, then the problems can really start to mount up. You have been warned.