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DfT launches agricultural vehicle consultations

Friday 8th November 2013

The DfT has launched consultations to seek views on proposals to increase the weight limit for agricultural vehicles and allow conventional tractors to travel at up to 25 mph, rather than 20 mph as at present.

The DfT says that moves will eradicate “outdated regulations” in a move to “help farmers transport goods more efficiently and boost agricultural output”.

Announcing the consultation, Robert Goodwill, roads minister, said: “Whether it’s helping to put food on the table, or driving industry forward with biofuel production, the UK relies on our farming community getting the job done.

“The Government is determined to cut red tape and make farmers’ lives as easy as possible – enabling them to safely transport more goods, more quickly will help increase production and drive down costs which could be reflected in the price of food.”

The two consultations fulfill commitments made in a report of the Independent Farming Regulation Taskforce, published in May 2011.

Click here to access the consultation relating to weight limit.

Click here to access the consultation relating to tractor speeds.

Both consultations run until 30 January 2014.

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While the countryside is a workplace for some it is a place where people live and want a quality of life in harmony with farming. Larger and faster agricultural vehicles threaten rural roads and those who use them, these roads are already have more life changing injuries than urban ones. The drive for efficiency in farming reduces the number of people working in farming and while it makes food production more efficient it is predominantly aimed at increasing the profits for industrial farms, not supporting and living in harmony with rural people.
Stuart Wilson

Agree (0) | Disagree (1)
-1

I have no problems with that. It appears that most farmers are now at least in my observation driving the larger and more powerful agricultural machines. I followed one the other day on the A6 and it was doing 40 mph. I was making that point that the majority of tractors in use are well capable of exceeding the 20 mph speed limit anyway.
bob craven Lancs

Agree (2) | Disagree (0)
+2

Some confusion here, possibly between industrial tractors and agricultural motor vehicles, the latter being allowed up to 40mph if under eight and a half feet (2.55m) in width, the former 18mph. 30mph tractors have been commonplace for the best part of twenty years. Any vehicle wider than eight and a half feet to just over nine feet in width is restricted to 20mph and is required to notify the police when using the public roads. Any between eleven and a half feet to fourteen feet is required to notify the police, have an escort and also restricted to a 12mph speed limit.

There are long standing publicised regulations covering all these aspects. Tractors have historically used road to access fields and between fields, most were not capable of more than 18mph, I have driven some.
Derek Reynolds

Agree (4) | Disagree (1)
+3

Nice one Duncan. I have relations with some farmers and they all agree that things have certainly changed over the last 50 years.

Farmers historically have been given a greater freedom by governments and local authorities, than most other road users and I am sorry but I don't believe its for the better. Yes I believe that the country roads are not a playground but they are in general use by members of the public and therefore shared by all. Responsibility should therefore be shared by all. It then stands to reason that farmers are also aware that others use those roads. What farmers must do should is to follow the law and act responsibly.
Bob craven Lancs

Agree (4) | Disagree (0)
+4

The countryside is a place of work, not a playground. Tractors and before them wagons never went through the fields to do their work, as there are rareley gates between fields, but gates between fields and roads. A 'back lane' is the only way in which equipment can be moved from one field to another and they may well have been designated a country cycleway, but nobody asked the farming community whether that might be a good idea or not.
Duncan MacKillop, Stratford on Avon

Agree (1) | Disagree (5)
-4

I can't agree more. Years ago tractors, which were small and slow, with their very dangerous equipment went through fields to do their work. Now because farms have got larger or land is isolated they travel the narrow country byways at high speeds (20mph can be to high) with loads nearly up to 9 ft wide and have the most dangerous machinery you have ever seen attached to them, front and or back. You would not want to be a cyclist and come into contact with some of those blades. These are usually and mostly the back lanes or quiet lanes that have been designated country cycleways.

To my mind they can travel at reasonable speeds, in the main 40 mph some up to 60 mph. They are a danger and in the event of having dangerous attachments they should have an escort either front or back, dependant on where the accessory is, such as a trike with amber flashing lights and a speed restriction of no more than 10 mph to boot.
bob Craven Lancs

Agree (3) | Disagree (3)
0

As long as they accept some form of operator license to help with the appalling standards of maintenance in the agri sector. These vehicles and their drivers lack the skills, expertise and professionalism of genuine HGV drivers. Tractors are for fields, trucks are for roads. This sort of thinking undermines the real hsuliers and gives a green light to even more flouting of the rules by the agri sector.
paul Denham, Devon.

Agree (5) | Disagree (3)
+2