George Lyon, Liberal Democrat MEP for Scotland, has warned that European Council and Parliament negotiations which threaten to limit the top speed of functional All Terrain Vehicles (ATVs) to 40kmph will dramatically reduce their effectiveness when used for daily stock work on farms.
George has been campaigning against proposals that would have forced manufacturers to build farm ATVS to an on-road specification leading to a significant increase in costs and severely limiting their effectiveness for farmers.
Although the campaign has made good progress in persuading the Commission to accept that farm use ATVs should be built to a separate spec from on road ATVs they have now introduced a new threat by proposing to reduce their top speed to 40 km/hr.
George has written to the UK Minister of Transport, Mike Penning MP, asking him to back the campaign against cutting the top speed from 60 to 40 km/hr.
Commenting, George said:
“As a farmer with over 35 years experience of using ATVs on a daily basis for stock work I know that limiting the top speed of farm quads to 40km/hr will dramatically reduce their effectiveness when used for fetching and carrying and herding livestock.
“Many farmers have to cover significant distances in order to carry out the daily work on their farm. Checking on stock, fetching and carrying sheep and delivering feed must be done in a quick and effective manner and the 40kmph speed restriction would hamper this.
“When rounding up and driving cattle and sheep back to the farm steading stockman have to be able to overtake and catch any animal that breaks from the herd and round them back up.
“A limit of 40km/hr risks making it impossible in many cases for a stockman to catch breakaway animals as they simply would be outrun by them.
“We have to get the balance right between effectiveness and safety and I firmly believe that 60km/hr gets that balance spot on.
“This is another example of officials failing to understand the key role ATVs play on farms. It is high time they recognised how integral they have become toUKfarmer’s successfully managing their farming enterprises on a day to day basis.
“I want the Minister to ensure the UK fights hard for a 60km/hr limit at the working-group meeting in Brussels on Thursday.”