NFU Conference: EU tractor MoT plans alarm farmers

European proposals to subject all tractors and trailers to tough MoT-style tests are being opposed by the NFU.

Adam Bedford, who works in the NFU’s Brussels office, told a breakout session at the NFU conference that the union was actively lobbying against the EU Roadworthiness Package as it could have big implications for farmers.

The proposals, first published in July 2012, would involve the introduction of a new registration scheme covering tractors and trailers, including livestock trailers. The aim was to try and reduce fatal accidents across all members states down to zero.

Mr Bedford said the industry was “not out of the woods yet” on the issue but it was getting helpful support from the Council of Ministers.

“The only reason tractors are in the package is that tractors in some countries are being used for transport and haulage. We believe that tractors are in the scope of the proposals when they really shouldn’t be.”

Ben Ellis, NFU regulatory affairs advisor, said in a separate development the NFU had submitted proposals to the Department for Transport (DFT) that could enable those farmers who want to go “faster and heavier” on the road to undergo voluntary MoT tests to enable them to do so.

The proposals would allow farmers to drive at 25mph and increase the weight limits for approved agricultural tractors and trailers.

The idea is that for approved agricultural trailers, extra weight limits would permit maximum weights of 23t for a twin axle trailer, 25.5t for a triaxle trailer (27t with a road friendly suspension) and a gross train weight of 33t and 37t respectively.

Mr Ellis said the proposals had been submitted to the DFT and the union was waiting to see if they will consult on them.

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