Rapid advances in modern technology have resulted in bigger and faster tractors that are more of a risk to the residents of villages and small urban settlements in the Derry countryside than ever, according to local MLA.
East Derry SDLP John Dallat acknowledged life is difficult enough for the local farming community but urged tractor drivers to take care when travelling through towns and villages.
He said: “No one wants to make life more difficult for the farming community given the challenges they meet and the tight timescale they have in which to complete farm operations.
“However, it does concern people that machinery is now much bigger and moves very fast and this poses increased risks especially in towns and villages where there may be children and young people sharing the same space.”
He continued: “Farm accidents are unfortunately not uncommon and has led to tragedy. It would be terrible if farm machinery using public roads was to be involved in incidents which could be avoided with a little more care and reduced speed. Modern machinery is highly complex and should only be in the control of personnel who are well experienced and equipped to handle it.
“We all want the agriculture industry to be successful and are quite happy to share the roads with them, but it would be wrong to ignore the fact that things have changed dramatically and we now have tractors capable of high speed and carrying many tons of payload.”