Tractor speed increase will boost West Norfolk farming business, says CLA

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The increased speed at which tractors will be able to travel will boost farming business and make roads safer, according to the Country Land and Business Association (CLA).

The CLA has welcomed news that from next March the maximum speed limit for conventional tractors is due to be increased to 25mph, although it has also said it’s disappointed that the maximum laden weight on trailers will not be increased further.

Modern tractors are designed to safely travel at speeds of up to, or over 25 mph, but current regulations restrict their speed to 20 mph, lower than many other EU countries.

CLA Eastern Regional Director Nicola Currie said: “Rules around the maximum speeds for agricultural vehicles on the road have not changed for 27 years and are outdated. There have been significant changes in agricultural machinery during this time so keeping the speed limit the same would have been counterproductive for agricultural businesses.

“Raising the speed limit to 25mph will bring the UK’s speed limit into line with the majority of Europe, making British farming businesses more competitive. Not only that, roads will become safer as unnecessary congestion is reduced along with the risk of accidents associated with overtaking.

“We also welcome a second phase of assessing agricultural machinery for use on the road. The Government must provide greater clarity over which category differing agricultural vehicles fit into. Now that technology has overtaken legislative background, many CLA members are unsure how their agricultural vehicles are classed.”

Mrs Currie said she was pleased with the announcement that the maximum weight for tractor and trailer combination will be increased to 31 tonnes, but said it was disappointing the limit for the maximum weight on trailers will not increase past 18.29 tonnes.

“Allowing a heavier tractor to be used improves safety on the road, but farm businesses also need to be able carry greater amounts of produce, reducing the number of unnecessary journeys,” she added.