Farm leaders oppose tractor tests proposal

Pic: Stock image
Pic: Stock image
ICMSA environment chairman Patrick Rohan

Claire Mc Cormack

The IFA and ICMSA have warned they will oppose roadworthiness tests for tractors.

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) confirmed last week that it was drawing up legislation to make tractors used in road transport liable for roadworthiness checks. The measure is to be introduced in 2018.

However, this move is opposed by the main farmers' organisations.

IFA environment chairman, Thomas Cooney, said the association would oppose what he described as "excessive regulations" being imposed on farmers.

"All farmers support improving safety. However, it is important when addressing this issue that existing measures are not duplicated. For example, farmers are currently subject to significant specific requirements regarding the roadworthiness and safety of their tractors, including ensuring they are in good condition and good repair," Cooney explained.

He said IFA would engage directly with both the Department of Transport and the RSA and will oppose any proposals that ignore existing obligations by placing a blanket obligation for an NCT for tractors.

Meanwhile, the ICMSA's Pat Rohan rejected the idea that an NCT on farmers' tractor was either necessary or warranted, describing the move as "another example of pointless over-regulation".

"It is generally recognised that those farmers who do use tractors on the road do not speed and are not, in any sense, responsible for any recordable number of accidents each year. As far as ICMSA is concerned, this is an expensive and pointless solution to a problem that doesn't exist," Rohan said.

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It is understood that tractors over four years of age will have to be tested, and then every two years. Using an untested tractor could attract a penalty of up to five penalty points.

Michael Moroney, CEO at Association of Farm Contractors in Ireland, said members are "unhappy" about the proposals.

"It will mean significant additional costs to contractors, potentially up to €1,000 per tractor per test, to be suitably prepared to pass," he said.

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