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EU See Sense on Tractor and Trailer Testing

New burdensome EU proposals on tractor and trailer testing look to have been defeated in the European Union yesterday (Wednesday) after intensive lobbying from UK 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 proposals 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 the proposals were costly, bureaucratic and unworkable with no evidence of any potential improvement in road safety. 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, the aim in the original proposals was to deal with the unfair competition in some European countries between farmers using tractors and trailers for road haulage and the professional road haulage industry.  The farm unions argued that this situation does not occur in the UK due to legal restrictions on things like red diesel use and operator licensing, and as such, farmers in the UK should not be penalised.

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.”    

Notes to Editors

  • NFU Scotland has launched a new helpline - 07733 136424 - to assist its members with the plethora of queries that surround the legal use of agricultural vehicles, both on and off road. The free advice line will be run by Linlithgow farmer Jamie Smart, Legal and Technical Committee representative for Lothian and Borders. As a former chairman of the Legal and Technical Committee, Jamie has, over many years, built up a strong knowledge of the rules and regulations behind agricultural transportation.  Members can also contact Jamie on the email address: agrivehelp@nfus.org.uk
  • NFU Scotland is currently consulting its members on the following:

Ends

Contact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

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