Farmer pressure sees proposal for tractor NCT pulled

Ciaran Moran

Ciaran Moran

The Minister for Transport Shane Ross has signed a new statutory instrument this morning that annuls a previous instrument requiring NCTs for tractors.

It had been proposed by the Department of Transport that high powered road travelling tractors would NCTs.

The President of ICMSA, John Comer, has welcomed today's decision stating that the idea that farm tractors would be subject to any kind of NCT was unworkable and would simply have represented another unnecessary cost to family farms. 

Mr Comer said that credit was due to Minister Ross for recognising the regulation for the mistake it was and withdrawing it.

Sinn Fein Agriculture Spokesperson Martin Kenny also welcomed the move and said the Minister has indicated that he will bring in new regulations for high-powered road-travelling tractors by next May in order to comply with EU directives.

“I would ask that the Minister to have a proper consultation with all farm organisations in order that whatever regulations are introduced will be workable for farmers.”

Farming organisations had criticised the move and said they were not fully engaged with during the consultative process.

Michael Moroney, CEO of Farm Contractors Ireland said he was "flabbergasted" at the move by the Department of Transport and the Road Safety Authority (RSA).

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He said that at a meeting this week with the RSA, farming organisations were told that tractors capable of travelling 40km or more when hauling loads more than 25km from their base would be classed as commercial haulage and would need to undergo an NCT.

He also said that the term 'agricultural activity' remained unclear for haulage purposes, as transporting baled silage was considered commercial haulage, but transporting unwrapped bales was not.

Moroney also questioned the practicality of a 25km distance and said that not only would agricultural contractors' work be spread beyond a 25km radius, many farmers are renting land that is further than 25km from their home farm.

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