More than 200 contractors attended the NAAC’s conference held last month at the East of England Showground – a record turnout for this biennial event.

A change of venue from its traditional Stoneleigh meeting point also allowed room for a display of machinery – a captive audience of probably the UK’s largest buyers of high-powered equipment being too good an opportunity to be missed by manufacturers.

While NFU president Peter Kendall was the best-known speaker at the event, John Bruce, area manager of the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) was equally keenly listened to.

He explained that VOSA statistics reveal that of all the vehicles and trailers stopped by the VOSA which are not currently covered by statutory testing, 72.5% were given prohibition orders. That means they could not be driven any further on the public highway until their faults were repaired.

There was further news for contractors who continually chance their arm by overloading grain trailers so that the gross train weight exceeds the current legal requirement of 24,390kgs. According to Mr Bruce an agricultural trailer can be designated as overloaded either in respect of its gross vehicle weight or as an individual axle weight. But whether it be gross train weight or trailer overloading, there is a set scale of fixed penalties which, for a two-axle agricultural trailer are:

• Band 0: Overload less than 5% £0 (no fine but warning given)

• Band 2: Over 5% but less than 10% £60

• Band 3: Over 10% but less than 15% £120

• Band 4: Over 15% but less than 30% £200

• More than 30% or 5t will be reported for consideration for court action