Call for tractor ban to be lifted

Conservative MSP Peter Chapman said the "ill-thought" ban on tractors using the AWPR needs to be reconsidered.
Conservative MSP Peter Chapman said the "ill-thought" ban on tractors using the AWPR needs to be reconsidered.

Renewed calls have been made for the reversal of a ban on tractors using the new Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route.

Scottish Conservative MSP Peter Chapman this week challenged First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to tell farmers if she is in favour of the restrictions planned for the route and urged her to support overturning the ban.

His comments came as Ms Sturgeon visited Turriff Show, Scotland’s second biggest agricultural event after the Royal Highland Show.

Mr Chapman has written to Transport Scotland to seek clarity after local officials suggested that the bypass would be granted “special road” status, excluding agricultural vehicles.

The issue was highlighted by NFU Scotland during a round table discussion at the New Deer Show last month and farmers are concerned they will have difficulty transporting livestock, particularly those making the journey from Ellon to the other side of the city at Portlethen.

Mr Chapman, who is also a farmer, said the situation also raises the question of increased greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural vehicles being forced to travel through the city.

He said: “My view is that this road is not a motorway, it is a dual carriageway and therefore tractors should be permitted to travel along the route.

“I have written to Transport Scotland, but I have yet to receive a response. I would urge Nicola Sturgeon to speak up on behalf of our local farmers so that common sense can prevail and this ill-thought ban is lifted.”

Local SNP MSP Gillian Martin said that a public consultation regarding the route had been carried out in 2007 although views can still be put to Transport Scotland.

She added: “I believe the NFU Scotland did submit to that. It’s unclear whether a call for access to agricultural vehicles was included in their submission at that point. However it has been suggested at the Turriff Show by MSPs present that if individual farmers believe they will be severely disadvantaged by not being able to access the new road and continue to use only the existing road network, that they make that case to Transport Scotland.”