MEPs have voted to improve European Commission proposals on road safety - but more must be done to ensure farmers do not face unnecessary burdens, the NFU has warned.
The Commission’s original proposal to harmonise road safety rules across Europe would bring in MOT-style tests for most UK tractors and trailers, including livestock trailers. The NFU said the proposals were “over the top” and has since worked hard with MEPs to make improvements.
“We are pleased to see the European Parliament has made some good amendments to the original proposal, but more must be done before we are satisfied,” said NFU regulatory affairs adviser Ben Ellis.
“In today’s vote, MEPs said trailers weighing less than two tonnes should be exempted from testing and that only tractors used ‘mainly’ on public roads should be tested.
“This is certainly better than the Commission's proposals where all tractors with a design speed of greater than 40kph would have to undergo an annual MOT-style test and where livestock trailers, or indeed any trailer above 750kg, would have to undertake testing.
“It is important to point out that the NFU is committed to road safety. We work very closely with the Health and Safety Executive and the Department for Transport on all road safety issues involving agricultural equipment. However, despite the MEP changes we still believe the regulations would be unnecessarily onerous, costly and based on little hard evidence to show that mandatory tests would improve road safety.
“Before the road safety rules become law the European Parliament must agree on a joint position with transport ministers from all EU member states. We will therefore continue to work closely with the Department of Transport, who have been very supportive of our position, to further improve the Commission’s proposals.”