Tractor trailer speed and weight consultation opens in NI

A government consultation examining tractor and trailer weights and speeds in Northern Ireland is to be carried out.

NI environment minister Mark Durkan announced on Tuesday (26 May) plans for a consultation on increasing the weight and speed limits for tractors and trailers on the country’s roads.

In March this year, the Department for Transport in the UK introduced legislation, which increased the speed limits for tractors.

See also: Tractor speeds and weights: what the new laws mean

Previously restricted to 20mph, tractors can now travel at 40kph (about 25mph).

In addition, the maximum combination weight of an agricultural tractor towing an agricultural trailer increased to 31t from 24.39t in Britain.

It is estimated that the change could create more than £57m a year in deregulatory savings for the UK farming industry.

The consultation considers whether the environment minister should introduce similar changes in Northern Ireland.

Mr Durkan said: “Increasing the speed of tractors on our roads and their permitted weights would undoubtedly be beneficial for the agricultural community, which is a vital component of our economy.

“I am constantly seeking ways to support our key industries and that is why I am seeking to introduce the GB legislation here.

“I must however be mindful of any potential impact on road safety and our rural roads and am therefore seeking views on this proposal. Once received I will give careful consideration on how to proceed.”

The consultation opened on 22 May for a six-week period, ending Friday 3 July.

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