Farm Ireland

Friday 19 October 2018

'Madness' NCT for tractors will 'force older tractors onto the roads'

Margaret Donnelly

Margaret Donnelly

New regulations around NCTs for tractors is due to come into force from May 2018, which one TD has called 'madness' and said it would force older tractors onto the roads.

The Minister for Transport Shane Ross signed a new Statutory Instrument in September, which calls for all tractors involved in haulage of a distance over 25km to under go an NCT.

Farming organisations have 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).

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.

According to the Department of Transport SI agricultural purposes means not ‘commercial road haulage’ means carriage of goods or passengers for hire and reward and carriage of goods by a person in the course of a trade or business carried on by him for the purpose of delivery to a customer in a vehicle owned by that person'.

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Independent TD Mattie McGrath said the move was effectively blindfolding and hugely damaging to agriculture.

"Indeed, fodder is being transported to the west because of the storms. This came out of the blue, without consultation. I want a moratorium placed on this, because it is going to have a huge impact."

He also said it would force older tractors with a lower speeds, which are totally unsuitable, onto the roads. "It is madness. The RSA has to be reined in because it is totally out of touch and is trying to destroy rural Ireland."

Michael Sheehan, Chairman of Professional Agricultural Contractors of Ireland said the organisation has secured a meeting with the Department of Transport in early November where stakeholders will be able to address their serious concerns on this and other issues surrounding S.I. 413/2017.

"This (regulation) has serious implications particularly for agricultural contractors as travelling outside the 25km radius will be deemed to be commercial use and bring with it compulsory roadworthiness testing." 

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