Bray People - - BRAY PEOPLE - Deborah COLE­MAN

FARM­ERS IN Co. Wick­low have been ig­nored by an ar­ro­gant Na­tional Roads Au­thor­ity in re­la­tion to up­grades to the N11 dual car­riage­way which will see all agri­cul­tural ma­chin­ery banned from it now it is a mo­tor­way.

That’s ac­cord­ing to the chair­per­son of Co. Wick­low IFA James Hill who says the lo­cal farm­ing com­mu­nity is less than im­pressed with the de­ci­sion. Mr. Hill told The Wick­low

Peo­ple this week that the con­cerns of farm­ers were raised with the NRA were to­tally ig­nored and that the con­se­quences have not been fully con­sid­ered.

‘We did ex­press our con­cerns to the NRA pre­vi­ous to the de­ci­sion as an in­ter­ested group but our con­cerns were ig­nored. We feel the de­ci­sion was al­ready made and that the con­sul­ta­tion process was merely en­tered into as a le­gal re­quire­ment,’ he said.

With large farm­ing ma­chin­ery un­able to travel along the M11 as of last Fri­day, the changes will now see small towns blocked up with them as they have no al­ter­na­tive route.

‘Ark­low will be one of the worst af­fected ar­eas, as will Rath­new. We are talk­ing about large trac­tors and com­bine har­vesters as well as live­stock con­tain­ers ne­go­ti­at­ing nar­row crowded streets. Also the ad­di­tion of speed ramps in many towns will not help. The junc­tion of Main Street, Ark­low and Bridge Street is a prime ex­am­ple. The traf­fic will be backed up through the whole town while ma­chin­ery takes that turn. This leaves every­one in a very dif­fi­cult po­si­tion.’

Mr. Hill added that while farm­ers were al­lowed to take their ma­chin­ery onto the N11 there were never any com­plaints from the pub­lic about de­lays or in­con­ve­nience.

‘To date we have been able to travel on the hard shoul­der without hold­ing any­one up. If they are forced back onto the old roads and through towns there will be chaos. I am sure the traders will not be happy ei­ther.’

Speak­ing in re­la­tion to a time-sen­si­tive per­mit that can be ar­ranged for spe­cific dates when farm­ers will be work­ing in cer­tain ar­eas.

‘This will not work. How can a farmer be ab­so­lutely sure what time they will be trav­el­ling to their land with weather con­di­tions the way they are? It is an un­re­al­is­tic sug­ges­tion,’ adds Mr. Hill.

Mem­bers of Co. Wick­low IFA are now call­ing for an ex­emp­tion in re­la­tion to rules against such ma­chin­ery trav­el­ling along the mo­tor­way.

‘We don’t know how we will go about ap­ply­ing for this but to date all we have re­ceived are glib an­swers from the NRA. We don’t wish to in­con­ve­nience the pub­lic. All we want is to get on with our work in the most prac­ti­cal way pos­si­ble.

‘There is ar­ro­gance about the whole is­sue which is un­ac­cept­able con­sid­er­ing the gov­ern­ment couldn’t even see fit to com­plete the dual car­riage­way up­grades al­ready promised.’

Farmer and Wick­low IFA chair­man James Hill is unim­pressed with the de­ci­sion to ban farm­ing ma­chin­ery from the N11.

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