22 October 2001
Farmers’ plea over tractor hours plan

By Adrienne Francis

FARM leaders are pleading with European politicians to oppose plans to stop farmers from driving tractors for more than three hours a day.

Members of the European Parliament are due to vote on the Physical Agents (Vibration) Directive on Tuesday (23 October).

The directive aims to limit exposure to body vibration. But the National Farmers Union claims it would cost 4 billion to implement.

NFU vice president Michael Paske said MEPs should exempt agriculture for five years, or until scientific tests linked tractor driving to health problems.

Alternatively, the NFU wants the directive reverted to an original proposal which would limit tractor driving time to eight hours a day.

Mr Paske said: “How the proposal on the table at the moment has come this far quite simply beggars belief.

“It would hit farmers competitiveness and impose an unworkable burden on their businesses.

“And to rub salt into the wounds, the proposal is not even based on firm scientific evidence.”

If the European Parliament agrees the current proposal, negotiations will have to begin in the hope of finding a common position, said Mr Paske.

FREE NEWS UPDATE
CLICK HERE to receive FWis FREE new daily email newsletter to keep up-to-date with the latest farming news and foot-and-mouth updates