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Agricultural Tractors and Trailers

Volume 592: debated on Tuesday 10 February 2015

Today I am announcing that I am laying the regulations to increase the weight and speed limits of tractors and trailers on roads in Great Britain.

These changes, which I announced on 17 October 2014, are being implemented by The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) (Amendment) Regulations 2015. They will take effect from 9 March 2015. Existing limits will apply until then.

From 9 March 2015 an agricultural tractor towing an agricultural trailer will be able to travel at a higher combination weight limit of 31 tonnes, increasing from 24.39 tonnes. The existing trailer limit of 18.29 tonnes remains in place. This change will allow farmers to more appropriately size their combinations as the current outdated weight limit incentivises farmers to use smaller tractors to tow larger trailers. This change could also increase the amount of produce that some farmers can carry in a journey resulting in fewer journeys and thus fewer risks of incidents.

Furthermore, agricultural tractors and agricultural trailers which are currently restricted under the Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations 1986 (as amended) to travelling at 20mph will be able to travel at 40km/h (approximately 25mph).

These increases, which I expect to create over £57 million a year in deregulatory savings for the farming industry will, when in force, update our regulations to better reflect modern machinery and bring British farmers more in line with their international counterparts.

The regulations, which come into force on 9 March 2015 will complete the first stage of changes. We are also considering further increases to speed and weight limits including to the 18.29 tonnes trailer weight limit to bring further benefits to the industry alongside a roadworthiness test for harvest 2016.

I am publishing a revised impact assessment alongside the regulations. Copies will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses.