12 Feb 2014
CHANGE TO LOAD HEIGHTS MUST BE PRIORITY FOR MINISTER VARADKAREnvironment & Rural Affairs
Speaking after a meeting with Transport Minister Leo Varadkar, IFA President Eddie Downey has called on the Minister to prioritise the introduction of changes to existing load height regulations to remove additional and excessive costs on the sector.
Mr. Downey said, “The Minister recognises these costs do exist, and the extra haulage involved on public roads arising from the new load clearance heights, especially for soft loads such as hay and straw. However, he must now set about addressing the issue to ensure farmers are not saddled with an additional €300 for every load hauled”.
IFA National Environment & Rural Affairs Chairman Harold Kingston has welcomed confirmation from Minister Varadkar that the €330m investment programme for regional and local roads for 2014 will not be reduced or diverted. He said, “While weather conditions remain difficult in many parts of the country, there is an urgent need for local authorities to begin road repairs and maintenance following the winter period”.
Minister Varadkar has also agreed to support IFA’s campaign to reduce the closed season when hedge cutting is prohibited, in order to make roads safer for motorists, tourists and pedestrians.
Harold Kingston said, “The rationale for including August as part of the closed season no longer exists and this is accepted by many agencies such as the Road Safety Authority and other countries such as the UK. Therefore, the closed season should be shortened by at least one month. This will allow farmers a realistic opportunity to get this necessary work done when daylight is most suitable and spread the farming workload over the year”.