29-12-2013 16:06 PM | Machinery and Spares, News

Farming unions lobby over EU tractor proposals



Farming unions lobby over EU tractor proposals
New EU proposals on tractor and trailer testing look to have been defeated in the European Union after intensive lobbying from farming unions.

The proposals, which formed part of the EU’s wide ranging ‘Roadworthiness Package’, would have introduced new MOT-style testing for some large tractors and all livestock trailers.

The original plans meant that all ‘O2’ graded trailers, such as a normal livestock trailer towed behind a four wheel drive vehicle, would have been subject to MOT-style testing.

The UK farming unions argued that prescriptive and onerous testing of tractors and livestock trailers would be costly and bureaucratic. After intense lobbying, and backed by the member state governments in the Council, the MOT style testing of all livestock trailers will now not be needed.


On tractor testing - NFU Cymru argued that requiring the same level of testing as is required for HGVs is unreasonable due to the multitasking nature of agricultural machinery.

Legal restrictions on issues such as red diesel use and operator licensing mean that tractors are used on the road for more limited time than in other countries and as such farmers in the UK should not be penalised.

NFU Cymru Rural Affairs Board Chairman Bernard Llewellyn said, “Thanks to the lobbying efforts of the NFU’s office in Brussels standard tractors used for farming would be exempt. For certain high speed ‘T5’ tractors, while still included in the scope of the final agreement, will only include those that travel ‘mainly on public roads’. NFU Cymru is committed to ensuring the safety of agricultural machines on the roads which is why we advocate the use of the Farm Vehicle Health Check Scheme.”

The final agreement is likely to come early in 2014 when the European Parliament and member state ministers are expected to formally adopt the package.

NFU Scotland’s Legal and Technical Policy Manager Gemma Thomson said: “The proper and safe transport of vehicles, equipment, livestock and goods is in the interests of all but driving unnecessary cost and bureaucracy into the system is in no one’s interest.

“Through a lobbying effort from the UK farming unions’ office in Brussels, we look to have successfully tackled the unwelcome level of testing, cost and inconvenience that these proposals may have brought with little or no benefit to road safety.

“It will come as a welcome relief for Scottish livestock keepers that MOT-style testing of livestock trailers will not now be required.

“In addition, testing of standard large T5 tractors - while still included in the scope of the final agreement - will only involve those that travel ‘mainly on public roads’. That deal comes with sensible, proper exemptions for farmers using tractors in agriculture and horticulture.

“The final agreement is likely to come early in 2014 when the European Parliament and member state ministers are expected to formally adopt the package.”

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