Tractor testing measures to come under the spotlight this week

It is understood that stakeholders will meet to discuss tractor testing measures later this week, after weeks of little or no developments regarding the issue.

A meeting of all the various stakeholders – including representatives from various farm organisations – will meet with officials from the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport to discuss a new Statutory Instrument (SI) to enforce regulations relating to the road-worthiness testing of ‘fast’ tractors.

‘Fast’ tractors are defined as tractors that can travel in excess of 40kph.

The requirement to test ‘fast’ tractors involved in commercial haulage stems from an EU directive, which comes into effect from May 20, 2018.

Last year, it was announced that the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Shane Ross, had signed an SI detailing proposed road-worthiness testing measures for ‘fast’ tractors.

Also Read: Haulage: ‘Fast’ tractors travelling more than 25km from base liable for testing

Following a considerable backlash from the farming community, the department agreed to roll-back on the measures. Farm organisations were angry that they had not been involved in drawing up the parameters in the original SI.

A consultation period is now set to take place to decipher what should be tested under the directive and what the parameters of the test should be.

Farm organisations are calling for any tractor being used for agricultural purposes to be exempt from testing.

The definition of ‘commercial haulage’ as well as a 25km limit were the main causes of concern the last time tractor testing measures were discussed by the stakeholders.

Farmers and agricultural contractors alike will be watching this situation closely over the course of the consultation period. Last year, it was thought that the potential cost of road-worthiness tests for ‘fast’ tractors would be in the region of €150 excluding VAT.

Speaking previously to AgriLand, president of the Irish Creamery Milk Suppliers Association (ICMSA) Pat McCormack said: “There is still plenty of time there for logical dialogue; we would be hoping for a process of consultation on the matter.

“There is a big difference between tractors with a 50kph or 60kph transmission used for commercial haulage and a tractor generally found on a farm.”