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Volume 451: debated on Wednesday 1 November 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on the use of agricultural tractors for haulage on public highways; and if he will make a statement. (98450)

Most users of goods vehicles over 3.5 tonnes need to hold an operators licence to perform haulage work on public highways. However, The Goods Vehicles (Licensing of Operators) Regulations 1995 allow for certain classes of vehicles to be exempt from this requirement. These exemptions are deliberately narrow in scope and apply mainly to specialist vehicles not often used on the public road.

Currently, tractors are exempted when they are used on roads for specified agricultural purposes, e.g. hauling produce within 24 km of a farm. The Department for Transport is reviewing the existing operator licence exemptions, including those for agricultural vehicles, and we aim to consult formally on proposals later this year.

To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) motor tractors and (b) agricultural tractors in (i) England, (ii) Wales and (iii) Scotland are registered with the DVLA. (98469)

Figures are available only on the numbers of those vehicles that were licensed with DVLA as at June 2006:

(a) The number of licensed motor tractors in England was 72,575, in Wales was 2,711 and in Scotland was 5,348.

(b) The number of licensed agricultural tractors in England was 193,302, in Wales was 23,866 and in Scotland was 33,238.