Farmers will benefit from changes to speed limits and weight limits for tractors, being able to take larger loads and drive faster. The new combination weight limit for tractors and trailers is now at 31 tonnes, up from 24.39 tonnes. Additionally, the speed limit for tractors has risen from 20mph to 40km/h (approximately 25mph).
The changes will see farmers benefit from being able to make less journeys as they will be able to transport more produce in one go and travel at a faster rate on UK roads. A second phase of improvements for those in the agriculture industry is expected next year, where weight and speed limits will likely be considered again for increase as well as a roadworthiness test in place by harvest 2016.
Transport Minister Claire Perry commented on the news, suggesting that farmers could save up to £60 million thanks to the changes. She said: “These changes will allow tractors to carry more produce per journey, meaning less traffic on our roads and almost £60 million savings for the hard-working farming community each year.
“Farms are the life-blood of rural communities and helping them is part of the government’s long-term economic plan to improve the lives of people up and down the country.”
The National Farmers Union (NFU) weighed in on the announcement, with transport spokesperson John Collen explaining that March is a busy period for those in the agricultural sector and so an optimum time for farmers to benefit from the increase in weight and speed limits.
He added: “We are pleased to see that DfT recognises that the current limits are outdated and they are considering further increases, and we welcome the opportunity for continued negotiation of enhanced limits for harvest in 2016.”