Larger loads could boost farming production

Larger loads could boost production.
Larger loads could boost production.

Outdated regulations could be cut to help farmers transport goods more efficiently and boost agricultural output, Roads Minister Robert Goodwill has announced.

A new consultation seeks views on increasing the weight limits for agricultural vehicles which will enable farm workers to transport more goods and better reflect the capabilities of modern farm machinery.

A separate consultation also seeks views on allowing conventional tractors to travel at up to 25 mph, rather than 20 mph.

Roads Minister Robert Goodwill said: “Whether it’s helping to put food on the table, or driving industry forward with biofuel production, the UK relies on our farming community getting the job done.

“The Government is determined to cut red tape and make farmers’ lives as easy as possible – enabling them to safely transport more goods, more quickly will help increase production and drive down costs which could be reflected in the price of food.”

Consultations are being launched following a commitment published in a report of the Independent Farming Regulation Taskforce, published in May 2011.

The consultations will run until January 30.

The current highest speed allowed for most conventional tractors is 20mph. Under the proposals, this could be increased to 25mph, while the weight limit for agricultural trailers and combinations could increase to 21 tonnes (t) for agricultural trailers and 31t for combinations. Vehicles would have to pass an annual roadworthiness test to qualify for the changes.

The consultation will consider various changes to the current trailer and combination weights and the proposed changes would allow agricultural vehicle operators to take an annual vehicle test which would enable them to drive with increased weights.

The consultations follow the report of the Independent Farming Regulation Taskforce, published in May 2011, where the Government committed to examining the maximum weights of agricultural trailers and combinations and the maximum speed of regular tractors.

The report says that the current weight limits either prevents farmers from using particular trailers on public roads, causing unnecessary time delays; or forces farmers to tow a full trailer with a small tractor, which is a safety risk.