Plans to crack down on ATVs defeated

MEPs have knocked back a plan that would have categorised all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) used on farms as road recreational vehicles – if the proposal had gone through, it would have brought with it additional costs for the design, manufacture and insurance of the vehicles.

Even although the decision has still to pass through the full European parliament, Scottish MEP George Lyon welcomed the rejection of the proposal by the Parliament’s internal market committee.

“I am pleased that my amendment to place farm and forestry vehicles under a different category from road recreational vehicles was taken into account by the committee,” he said.

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“This will ensure there are different rules for vehicles built for very different purposes and on very distinct terrain.

“However, there is still work to be done. The commission is still refusing to compromise and seems determined to force manufacturers to stop making quad bikes that are built specifically for use by farmers and foresters.”

He added the next step would be getting the full backing of the parliament for his position and then forcing the commission to “come to its senses”.

He wanted a recognition that, on both safety and cost grounds, quad bikes for off-road use and quad bikes for on-road use must be built to take account of the different conditions they will be operated under.

NFUS vice-president John Picken said that if the original proposals had gone through, it could have “made life very difficult for farmers, who would have had to pick up the extra costs for design, manufacture and insurance of the modified vehicles.

“ATVs are an absolute necessity on Scottish farms, and while NFUS would adamantly advocate their safe use, they are used in very difficult terrain on Scottish farms and in different circumstances from road recreational vehicles.”