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Detail of outcome
The government’s position for examining the weight and speed limit for tractors and trailer combinations consultation is published in a single response with the weights and maximum speed limit for tractors on roads consultation.
The final impact assessment and analysis of the responses are also available.
February 2017 update
In March 2015, legislation was introduced to help ease the burden of regulation on farmers in 2 ways.
First, the permitted tractor and trailer combination weight was increased from 24.39 tonnes to 31 tonnes (maximum gross trailer weights remained at 18.29 tonnes). This was to enable more modern, heavier tractors to pull trailers without this limiting potential payload.
Second, the speed limit for tractors was increased from 20mph to 25mph, in view of the better braking capabilities of modern vehicles and to help reduce the time taken in making trips from field to farm.
The expected combined benefit of these changes was £62 million.
At the time, the government committed to examine the possibility of further increases to trailer weights, including a potential roadworthiness testing element. Further analysis has indicated that the limits set in 2015 struck the right balance between the costs and benefits of higher weights. A further increase to the permitted trailer weights would be expected to lead to significant additional wear on road surfaces, costing around £25 million per year. The government is conscious of the effect that such an outcome would have on rural road users and the burden it would place on authorities responsible for road maintenance and as such has decided not to proceed further with regulatory change in this instance.
While the government is not currently considering the introduction of mandatory roadworthiness testing for tractors and trailers used for agricultural purposes, we remind operators that it is a legal obligation to keep vehicles in a roadworthy condition. We welcome industry initiatives around voluntary vehicle testing and the Department for Transport will engage with stakeholders to help facilitate this where possible.
This consultation seeks views on options for increasing the maximum weight for agricultural trailers and combinations in Great Britain. This is following recommendations made in the Farming Regulation Taskforce Report 2011.
We would like people to comment on various policy options, the balance of costs and savings, and the impacts arising from change.
This consultation is discussed in the press release ‘Larger loads could boost farming production’ of 15 November 2013.