Britain’s farmers will get a bumper harvest as the government slashes red tape to boost tractor weight and speed limits, Transport Minister Claire Perry has announced.
The government will cut outdated regulation to allow higher tractor speeds and heavier tractor and trailer combinations from spring 2015. The government has also committed to develop detailed proposals for a roadworthiness test for tractors and trailers.
Claire Perry said:
Britain’s farmers have long suffered under out-dated rules which simply have not kept up with today’s technology.
These changes will mean farmers can carry more produce in each journey - delivering benefits of almost £62 million per year.
Helping our farmers is a crucial part of the government’s long-term economic plan and updating the rules to better reflect the capabilities of modern machinery will boost the efficiency of the farming sector and the economy.
Under the changes, the maximum combination weight limit for tractors and trailers will increase from 24.39 tonnes to 31 tonnes and will set a new effective speed limit of 25mph (40km/h), up from 20mph - saving time and money. Tractors allowed to exceed 25mph will continue to be subject to tighter design and regulatory requirements.
The increase in combined weight means bigger tractors can pull trailers without sacrificing cargo to meet the top weight limit of both tractor and trailer. This will maximise the amount of produce transported in each journey.
These changes will also result in farmers having to make fewer journeys on our roads and so reduce the risk of accidents.
The second phase of changes will see a further consideration of increases in weight and speed limits and a roadworthiness test for some agricultural tractors and trailers by summer 2016.
Today’s (17 October 2014) announcement follows consultations which ran from November 2013 to January 2014. The responses will be published today along with the impact assessment and government response which covers both speed and weight limits. Existing limits will apply until the first round of changes come into effect in spring 2015.