11 December 2000
Union fights ‘nanny state’ directive

By FWi staff

A “NANNY state” EU directive, which could limit a farmer to just two hours ploughing time a day, is being fought by producers representatives.

National Farmers Union deputy president Tim Bennett is to meet MEPs on Tuesday (12 December) to argue against the proposal to restrict the use of farm machinery.

The proposed Physical Agents Directive has been put forward as a way of staving off the possible effects of whole-body vibration.

Chairman of the NFUs technical services committee Marcus Themans said: “It is quite simply the nanny state gone mad.”

While it would apply to all industries, farmers, hauliers and builders would be among those most affected.

The NFU has been supported by the Ministry of Agriculture and the Health and Safety Executive, which has called for a 12-year derogation for agriculture.

The proposed derogation and directive is due to be decided upon by the European Parliament early in the new year.

Tim Bennett said improvements in design are reducing vehicle vibration levels and that the 12-year derogation provides an essential transition period.