How to stay legal this harvest when moving wide machinery

It’s that time of year again – farmers planning to move big combines or other oversized machinery on the road need to complete the Agricultural Vehicle Dispensation Scheme to save hassle at harvest.

In normal circumstances, police must be notified at least 24 hours before vehicles more than 3m wide and/or with a speed limit of 40mph or less are taken on the road, or when they are travelling distances greater than five miles.

Failure to comply could result in a penalty of up to £220.

However, applying for annual dispensation is a way around this requirement, but it must be done prior to travel and the document should be kept in the vehicle at all times.

See also: Get ready for harvest: How to carry out a safety induction

Once granted, machinery up to 4.3m (14ft) wide can be moved without the need to notify police.

This will typically include the majority of medium and large wheeled combines, as well as the bigger tracked tractors.

The scheme allows farmers to chaperon their own machines, within a 25-mile radius of their base, using a suitable escort vehicle running ahead to warn oncoming traffic – tractors and telehandlers towing the header can’t be used to escort the combine.

To apply, farmers should contact their local force and ask for the abnormal loads department in order to notify them of the vehicle details and areas of travel.

The certificate lasts for 12 months and covers all movements of the named vehicles. 

Scottish rules

The situation in Scotland is similar to that of England and Wales, with dispensation required for the same sized vehicles and types of journey.

Farmers applying for dispensation should speak to Police Scotland, or NFU Scotland members can contact the union on 0131 472 4000 to obtain an application form.

Completed forms should be sent to

Successful applications will receive a letter from Police Scotland providing a full year’s dispensation.

NFU discounts for fire prevention tech

The NFU is offering discounts for farmers that fit their combines with fire suppression equipment this harvest.

The incentive comes after NFU Mutual dealt with more than 80 combine fires last year, including eight that were valued at over £100,000.

Savings are available for systems – fitted new or retrofitted – that meet the P-mark certification standard.

This means they are dual agent with two cylinders – one foam and the other powder.

Farmers interested in discounts or getting a kit fitted should contact with their local NFU branch.

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