The National Farmer’s Union (NFU) has expressed disappointment after the Government revealed there would be no further increase to the on-the-road weight limit for agricultural trailers.
In an announcement on 3 February, the DfT said that further increasing the permitted trailer weights would lead to significant additional wear on road surfaces, costing around £25m per year.
The DfT added that it is conscious of the effect that heavier trailers would have on other rural road users, and the burden it would place on authorities responsible for road maintenance.
In response, the NFU says the rules on tractor/trailer weights are outdated, not fit for purpose and do not reflect the capabilities of modern agricultural machinery.
For many years the maximum legally permitted weight of a tractor/trailer combination was pegged at 24.39 tonnes with the maximum weight of a trailer in that combination at 18.29 tonnes.
In March 2015, the Government announced that it would raise the weight of a tractor/trailer combination to 31 tonnes. However, the weight limit for a trailer did not change and remained at 18.29 tonnes.
At the time, the Government committed to examine the possibility of further increases to trailer weights. However, it now says that further analysis indicates that the limits set in 2015 struck the right balance between the costs and benefits of higher weights.
Photo: National Farmer’s Union.