Fine Gael TD for Kildare South Martin Heydon, Chair of Fine Gael’s Internal Agriculture Committee, has today (Tuesday) confirmed that he is continuing to push for a change to the Height Restrictions imposed on trailer loads last November.

“I submitted a draft Statutory Instrument to Minister Leo Varadkar and his officials before Christmas to allow them to consider a possible solution to the ongoing issue of a 4.65m height restriction on trailers that is having a huge impact on the transportation of fodder for farmers.”

“The draft Statutory Instrument submitted for review proposes a derogation for loads carrying hay and straw. “Restricting the height of loads carrying hay and straw could mean hauliers having to transport one third less bales per load, thereby significantly increasing the overall cost per bale for the hard pressed farmers who are still trying to recover from the fodder crisis last year.”

“The new restrictions which came into law last November, were designed to address the issue of higher trailers driving through cities due to the height of the Dublin Port Tunnel, along with the Jack Lynch Tunnel in Cork and the Tunnel in Limerick.   However loads of hay and straw do not generally travel through cities and are not seen as the causes of damage through bridge strikes.”

“While it is unfortunate that this problem wasn’t averted prior to the signing into law of the regulations in 2008 by the previous Minister for Transport, it is imperative that we now look to alleviate a cause of stress for farmers who buy and sell hay and straw.”

“I believe my proposed solution is a practical response to a difficult situation.  I have since met with Minister Varadkar on the issue and highlighted the ongoing impact it is having on the farming community. He and his officials are now analysing the practicalities of the proposal.”