Tipperary TD Noel Coonan has warmly welcomed news from his Fine Gael colleague Minister Leo Varadkar that he is allowing exemptions to vehicle height limits for the haulage of agricultural fodder.
Deputy Coonan contacted Minister Varadkar on this issue for Tipperary farmers concerned about height restrictions on trailers that transport round-bales and fodder to their livestock.
“I highlighted to Minister Varadkar that we are all concerned regarding ongoing height restrictions which inhibit the transport of hay and straw between the South, Midlands and the West. I called on the Minister to exempt the height of these trailers from existing law. This is a very important issue in rural areas and I am pleased to see Minister Varadkar consulted with our colleague Minister Coveney, with Irish Rail and farming representative bodies and, arising from this has asked his officials to draft regulations to allow for a very narrow exemption for the haulage of agricultural fodder, that is, straw and hay only, from the height limits brought in by the 2008 regulations,” said Deputy Coonan.
“I want to acknowledge my colleague Deputy Martin Heydon for drafting a statutory instrument on behalf of Government backbenchers seeking a derogation for agricultural fodder haulage from the vehicle height limits,” continued Deputy Coonan.
“Statutory Instrument 366 of 2008 sets the maximum vehicle height limit at 4.65 metres and was signed into law by Minister Varadkar’s predecessor, Minister Noel Dempsey. These regulations allowed a five year derogation from that limit for vehicles registered, licensed or in use prior to 1 November 2008. The derogation was introduced to allow a 5-year period within which vehicles operating at heights in excess of the new limits could be withdrawn from use or to allow the necessary height reductions by operators. This derogation expired on the 31st October last.
Following the expiry of the derogation, specific concerns have been raised with me by the agri-sector in relation to the effect that the 4.65 metre maximum vehicle height restriction would have on the cost of transporting fodder and this will come as a welcome relief to Tipperary farmers,” concluded Deputy Coonan.