Farm Ireland

Tuesday 20 February 2018

Will your tractor be subject to an 'NCT' test?

Compulsory testing will only apply to 'fast tractors' for commericial road haulage says Road Safety Authority

Deere's new 230hp-rated 6230R and 250hp 6250R tractors.
Deere's new 230hp-rated 6230R and 250hp 6250R tractors.
Compulsory testing will only apply to 'fast tractors' for commericial road haulage Photo: Alf Harvey/HR Photo
Claire Mc Cormack

Claire Mc Cormack

The Road Safety Authority (RSA) has confirmed that compulsory testing for farm vehicles will be confined to what it describes as "fast tractors" that have maximum speeds of over 40km/hr.

It was widely feared that EU regulations would require all tractors used on the public roads to undertake the equivalent of an NCT. However, this was denied by the RSA.

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

"It is not proposed to apply roadworthiness testing to fast tractors used exclusively for agricultural purposes," the RSA said.

"The spirit of the directive is to ensure that fast tractors involved in local transport for commercial activities are required to meet the same periodic testing requirements as their commercial vehicles counterparts," the RSA insisted.

"The RSA is working with the Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTaS) in finalising the policy currently. On determination of the policy with respect to testing of fast tractors by the DTTaS, the RSA will engage with the key stakeholders and will communicate the requirements of the test well in advance of them becoming mandatory," it added.

Member States are required to publish the legal provisions to give effect to the terms of the new directive by May 20. The directive will then come into effect from May 20, 2018.

Draft proposals

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Draft proposals for new transposing legislation to give effect to the directive are being prepared and will be submitted to the DTTaS in the coming weeks for consideration, the RSA said.

The RSA is currently developing the test for fast tractors. The test will cover basic road safety items such as braking, lighting, steering and suspension systems, towing device and tyres.

However, the Association of Farm and Forestry Contractors of Ireland (FCI) has called on the Government to seek a derogation from the directive for Ireland.

FCI claimed the proposed legislation would have a serious impact on its members because of the size and modern nature of the tractors in their fleets.

"Contractors own the vast majority of the tractors in the proposed testing speed band and we are deeply concerned that there has been no consultation on the issues around a possible test," said FCI chairman, Richard White.

"We do not know what the test will involve, who will carry it out and how much it will cost, and whether any proposed testing costs be controlled by Government regulation," he added.

He claimed the overall charge on preparing tractors for the test could cost contractors up to €1,000 per tractor.

"The current contractor charge rates are not good enough to support this additional cost.

These rates do not reflect the huge costs associated with owning modern machinery, and this additional roadworthiness testing cost will force some contractors to re-consider their future in the business," said Mr White.

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