Farmers and contractors have expressed frustration at the shelving of plans which would have allowed higher combination weights of agricultural tractors and trailers – the decision was termed “a backwards step for a modern farming industry”.
The Department for Transport said it will no longer proceed with “Phase 2” of measures which would have allowed this to happen.
Two years ago the first phase of the changes in the law on tractor speed and weights was brought into effect, allowing the maximum combination weight of a tractor and single trailer to increase from 24.39 tonnes to 31 tonnes. However, the maximum laden weight of trailers remained unchanged at 18.29 tonnes.
The National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC) said this meant the legislation on trailer weights would remain based on information and equipment which was now 30 years old, adding that legislation had not kept up with current machinery and pressures on the industry.
NAAC chairman Martin Hays said that the sector felt very let down by the government’s decision which he said would hold back the industry. He added that Brexit would create further challenges to compete on a world market and it was essential that contractors and farmers had the tools available to work efficiently and safely.
He said: “To be told that further trailer weight increases will now not take place is a severe blow.”