Department set to roll back on ‘fast’ tractor testing measures

The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport is set to roll back on ‘fast’ tractor testing measures following a stakeholder meeting earlier today (November 1).

A number of farm organisations, as well as officials from the Road Safety Authority (RSA) and both the Department of Agriculture and the Department for Transport were present at today’s meeting – among other stakeholders.

Under measures announced last month, it was indicated that only tractors capable of speeds over 40kph would be liable for road-worthiness testing if they were involved in commercial road haulage – including the haulage of agricultural produce.

These measures would only apply if the ‘fast’ tractor travelled in excess of 25km from its base (point-to-point or ‘as the crow flies’).

However, following today’s meeting it is believed the Department for Transport is willing to roll back on these measures and effectively start from scratch on the matter. It is understood that the 25km distance limit will be scrapped altogether.

A consultation is set to take place between department officials and the various stakeholders. A technical working group is expected to be formed in order to discuss potential measures to be introduced.

At last month’s meeting organised by the RSA, it was alleged that the Minister for Transport, Shane Ross, signed a Statutory Instrument on Thursday, September 21 – the final day of the National Ploughing Championships in Screggan, Co. Offaly – to enforce a regulation relating to the road-worthiness testing of ‘fast’ tractors.

It is believed that this SI will be amended or withdrawn going forward. A further meeting on the road-worthiness testing of tractors is set to take place in the next week or two.

Farm organisations are confident that the haulage of agricultural produce will be totally exempt going forward, regardless of whether the harvesting or haulage of the produce is the primary activity.

Going forward stakeholders are eager for regulations to leave no room for interpretation and to be ‘black and white’.

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