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Rethink on bridge farm traffic hailed

Agricultural equipment such as combines or potato-planting equipment will still need to give 24 hours’ notice of movement
Agricultural equipment such as combines or potato-planting equipment will still need to give 24 hours’ notice of movement

A logistical nightmare for farmers who need to drive tractors across the Forth has been averted ahead of the Queensferry Crossing being designated a motorway at midnight.

From tomorrow morning all agricultural traffic will be rerouted across the Forth Road Bridge – and until the intervention of the Tayforth Machinery Ring (TMR) this week, the new official Forth Bridges guidance required 24 hours’ prior notice for every farm vehicle which needed to make the crossing.

However, a meeting between the bridge management, TMR and farmers’ union has resulted in a U-turn and permission for unrestricted movement for all vehicles up to 2.9m wide.

TMR manager Bruce Hamilton said the change of heart was “fantastic” and a feather in the cap of the ring.

“The 2.9m limit means most tractors and trailers can go back and forward without preplanning, which is the situation we have been used to.

“Our members will be able to harvest grain or potatoes on either side of the Forth and make regular journeys across the bridge as usual,” he said.

“Seeing the new guidance on the internet came as a shock and it would have been an absolute nightmare for members, but it just hadn’t been thought through properly.”

Other guidance states agricultural vehicles more than 2.9m wide but less than 3.5m wide need to contact the Forth Bridge control room in advance of movement to gain permission to cross to ensure safe passage for all road users.

Agricultural vehicles such as combines or potato-planting equipment over 3.5m wide will still need to give 24 hours’ notice of movement then call the control room to gain permission to cross.

The TMR has 1,050 members who farm from Perthshire to Edinburgh.

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