Farm Ireland

Wednesday 17 January 2018

'Fast' tractor NCT: 'Nanny state-ism' says local Councillors

Councillors condemn 'fast' tractor NCT proposal by RSA

John Deere's new six cyliner tractors have an extended service interval of 750 hours.
John Deere's new six cyliner tractors have an extended service interval of 750 hours.
Cllr Keith Henry

A Road Safety Authority (RSA) proposal to bring in a NCT-like test for "fast" tractors with speeds of over 40kph has been described as "nanny state-ism at its best by Sligo Councillor Keith Henry.

Councillors Keith Henry and Joe Queenan both put forward motions on the contentious issue at this month's Sligo County Council meeting.

The RSA maintains that the EU directive governing the legislation (2014/45/EU) is targeted solely at tractors used for commercial road haulage purposes.

Cllr Henry called on the Council to ask Transport Minister Shane Ross to oppose the proposal.

Cllr Queenan also called on the Minister to use the opt-out clause with the EU regarding the NCT for tractors.

"Tractors are included in very few accidents," said Cllr Henry.

"I don't see why there needs to be a Directive implemented. MEPs have a lot of questions to answer in they voted on this issue. I contacted the RSE about this and as usual there seems to be confusion - what defines 'haulage'?" he asked. "It's over-regulation. The considerations as to how much it's going to cost should be made," he added.

"My fear is that this is only the thin end of the wedge," said Cllr Queenan.

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"The amount of paperwork now involved to get a few pound, you'd need a full time secretary. We may as well be writing to Russia as write to the Minister," he said.

Cllr Dara Mulvey said there were certain farmers for whom their tractor was their only mode of transport.

Cllr Margaret Gormley described the proposal as "a money-making racket."

"It'd be more on Minister Ross' line to repair the roads and not be enforcing this. Once they get this in, every tractor will have to be NCT'd," she said. "I hope that the farming community will come to the assistance of farmers in rural areas," she added.

Cllr Michael Clarke disagreed, saying some of those 'fast' tractors could weigh up to 50 tonne and he'd be wary of this Council to make it policy to be against NCTs.

"These heavy tractors that pull heavy machinery should be NCT'd. It's worth having some checks and balances," he said.

Cathaoirleach Cllr Hubert Keaney agreed.

The motion was amended to ask the Minister to oppose NCTs for tractors less than 125 horse power. It was passed by nine votes for, with six abstentions.

Sligo Champion