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Union Welcomes New Tractor and Trailer Weight and Speed Limits

Increase to come into effect on 9 March 2015

NFU Scotland has welcomed changes to increase the weight and speed limits of agricultural tractors and trailers from 9 March 2015.

In autumn 2014, the government announced its intention to implement the increase to reflect modern machinery, improve the efficiency of the farming sector and help to boost the economy.

These initial changes to weights and speed limits are to be introduced from 9 March through amendments to the Road Vehicles Construction and Use Regulations.

This will see an increase in the maximum combination weight limit for tractors and trailers from 24.39 tonnes to 31 tonnes.  This will allow farmers to have more flexibility in how they haul, allowing larger tractors to tow the same maximum loads that smaller ones do already and offering some farmers a modest increase in the amount they can carry in each journey.  The maximum laden weight of trailers (18.29 tonnes) maximum axle weights for tractors and trailers will remain unchanged.

An effective speed limit of 25mph will be applied to conventional tractors. Modern tractors are designed to safely travel at speeds of up to, or over 25mph, but current regulations restrict their speed to 20mph, lower than many other EU countries. Those tractors allowed to exceed 25mph will continue to be subject to tighter design and regulatory requirements.  

Gemma Thomson, Legal and Technical Policy Manager for NFU Scotland commented: “These regulations are being updated to better reflect the capabilities of modern machinery, improve the efficiency of the farming sector and help to boost the economy.

 “The regulations governing tractors and trailers are outdated and the limits, originally set in the 1980s, do not reflect the significant advances in technology that have been made in this sector.

“NFUS made representations on behalf of members, and will respond in due course to the forthcoming consultation on Phase Two which will examine further increased weights against the potential of an annual testing system for tractors.”

Note to editors

  • An increase the maximum combination weight limit for tractors and trailers from 24.39t to 31t.  This will allow farmers to have more flexibility in sizing their combinations, allow larger tractors to haul the same maximum loads that smaller ones do already and will offer some farmers a modest increase in the amount of produce they can carry in each journey.  The maximum laden weight of trailers will remain unchanged (at 18.29t) and the maximum axle weights for tractors and trailers will not change.
  • An effective speed limit of 25mph will be applied for conventional tractors. Modern tractors are designed to safely travel at speeds of up to, or over 25mph, but current regulations restrict their speed to 20mph, lower than many other EU countries. We are therefore unnecessarily restricting our farmers, adding time and cost on to their operations.   Those tractors allowed to exceed 25mph will continue to be subject to tighter design and regulatory requirements.
  • Phase 2 is planned for introduction before harvest 2016 and it includes the consideration of further increases in weights and speeds, including maximum laden trailer weight limits and a roadworthiness test for some agricultural tractors and trailers. NFU Scotland made representations on behalf of members during the initial consultation, and will also do so for any subsequent consultations.
  • NFU Scotland’s free transportation advice line is available to Union members by calling 07733 136424.

Ends

Contact Ruth McClean on 0131 472 4108
 

Date Published:

News Article No.: 41/15


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