The Department of Transport is currently re-examining its rule change that limits the height at which fodder can be carried on open trailers.

ICMSA’s farm services and environment committee chairman, Patrick Rohan, has welcomed this confirmation by Minister for Transport, Leo Vardakar, that his department is examining a proposed statutory instrument to allow an exemption of agricultural fodder.

The ICMSA notes “a decision is expected in the coming weeks”.

Fine Gael TD for Kildare South, Martin Heydon, has also been vocal on the issue. He confirmed a continued push for a change to the height restrictions imposed on trailer loads last November.

“I submitted a draft statutory instrument to the Transport Minister and his officials before Christmas to allow them to consider a possible solution to the ongoing issue of a 4.65 metre height restriction on trailers that is having a huge impact on the transportation of fodder for farmers.”

Heydon noted the draft submitted for review proposes a derogation for loads carrying hay and straw. Restricting the height of loads carrying hay and straw could mean hauliers having to transport one third less bales per load.

“Thereby significantly increasing the overall cost per bale for the hard pressed farmers who are still trying to recover from the fodder crisis last year,” he added.

He outlined the new restrictions, which came into law last November, were designed to address the issue of higher trailers driving through cities due to the height of the Dublin Port Tunnel, along with the Jack Lynch Tunnel in Cork and the Tunnel in Limerick.

However he stressed: “Loads of hay and straw do not generally travel through cities and are not seen as the causes of damage through bridge strikes…While it is unfortunate that this problem wasn’t averted prior to the signing into law of the regulations in 2008 by the previous Minister for Transport, it is imperative that we now look to alleviate a cause of stress for farmers who buy and sell hay and straw.”