Farmers have reacted furiously to plans from the Road Safety Authority to introduce road-worthiness tests for standard four-wheel drive tractors used for road haulage.

According to an exclusive report in the Irish Farmers Journal, the Road Safety Authority (RSA) is putting plans are being put in place for certificate of roadworthiness tests to be introduced from 2018 for around 8,000 tractors that are capable of driving at 40km/h or more.

While most farmers and contractors have no issue with efforts to improve road safety, the general consensus is that these latest plans will add costs to farmers and contractors with no benefit to road users.

Terms like “money racket” and “money grab” were recently posted on the Irish Farmers Journal Facebook page, as people reacted to the news of the planned legislation due to be introduced next year.

It is set to be questionable which tractors will actually be required to be tested. Some pointed out that if the test was for tractors used exclusively for hire or road haulage, then it could perhaps be seen as reasonable.

However, the RSA has said that testing will be required for tractors mainly used for hauling for hire and reward or on the owner’s “own account”. This could include hauling of grain to co-ops or merchant yards, collection of animal feed from mills, transport of bales and transport of livestock to marts and processing plants.

The initial reaction has mostly been that strong opposition needs to be raised to the plans with farmers calling on the IFA and other lobby organisations to immediately voice concerns about the planned legislation.

Some have also raised suspicions that the legislation is being introduced to increase the sales of new tractors and, therefore, increase VAT payments to the Government.