Farmer groups have their say on ‘fast’ tractor testing regulations

Farmer organisations have given their reactions to yesterday’s announcement of the incoming ‘fast’ tractor road-worthiness testing by Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport Shane Ross.

ICSA

Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) president Patrick Kent has said that “logic has prevailed” with the announcement on tractor “NCTs”.

“Clarification from the minister that only tractors with a maximum design speed exceeding 40kph, which are being used for non-agricultural activities, will require road-worthiness testing vindicates the ICSA’s position on the matter and is a victory for common sense,” Kent said.

“The ICSA was insistent that, for the legislation to work in practical terms, it could not make a distinction between the farmer and the contractor.

The results are in now and NCTs will not apply to tractors used for the purposes of farming or agricultural contracting, which will certainly come as a relief for many.

Kent thanked the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport for its progressive engagement on this issue.

IFA

Meanwhile, Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) national environment chairman Thomas Cooney has welcomed the “pragmatic decision” by Minister Ross.

Also Read: Finer details of ‘fast’ tractor testing emerge

Cooney said that Minister Ross and his officials were “convinced” to accept that farmers are already heavily regulated when it comes to transporting farm produce.

“For example, farmers are currently legally required under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005 to ensure that brakes, the handbrake, mirrors, lights, indicators, wipers and hitches are all in working order.

We understand and support safety. However, we oppose excessive and wasteful duplication, whether that’s in transport or other inspections.

Concluding, Cooney said: “Minister Ross must now immediately publish the clear definitions and regulations which give effect to this decision. There can be no room for confusion.”

PAC

In addition to the farm organisations, the Professional Agricultural Contractors of Ireland (PAC) also commented on the regulations.

PAC Ireland chairman, Michael Sheehan, has welcomed the move.

The contractors’ association attended a series of meetings with Minister Ross and Department of Transport officials to voice concerns on how such requirements would have a negative impact on the businesses of the agricultural contracting sector, according to PAC.