Are Anglesey’s farm­ers on the high­way to hell?

Bangor Mail - - NEWS - El­wyn Evans

WOR­RIED farm lead­ers have flagged up their con­cerns over planned weight lim­its on un­clas­si­fied roads that could af­fect traf­fic to farms and other busi­nesses on Anglesey.

NFU Cymru fears farms on the is­land may be com­pro­mised if heavy lor­ries, trac­tors and plant equip­ment are pre­vented from ac­cess­ing them.

Con­tracts for new dairy units in par­tic­u­lar could be threat­ened if they are forced to ac­cept mul­ti­ple, smaller milk col­lec­tions rather than larger tankers.

It fol­lows a move by Anglesey Coun­cil to put all fu­ture plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions un­der the mi­cro­scope. Plan­ners hope to pre­vent heavy traf­fic be­ing gen­er­ated by “large-scale” de­vel­op­ments that dis­rupt res­i­dents and dam­age the lo­cal road net­work.

Af­ter a win­ter in which roads have taken a bash­ing, it is be­lieved the author­ity is keen to im­prove traf­fic man­age­ment to keep a lid on maintenance costs and en­hance ve­hi­cle flows.

The im­pli­ca­tions will be dis­cussed by NFU Anglesey mem­bers at the next county meet­ing at Car­tio Môn, Bod­ed­ern, on Tues­day, June 5, 7.30pm.

Huw Percy, chief engi­neer at Anglesey Coun­cil’s high­ways de­part­ment, will out­line farm­ing’s use of the road net­work and what pow­ers the coun­cil can ex­er­cise to en­force the High­ways Act 1980.

NFU Anglesey chair­man El­wyn Evans said: “His pre­sen­ta­tion will be of par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est to those con­tem­plat­ing ex­pan­sion plans, who seek plan­ning ap­proval.

“It is also rel­e­vant to mem­bers who make ex­ten­sive use of the road net­work as part of their farm­ing en­ter­prise.

“There will be more scru­tiny sur­round­ing all plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tions, with the high­ways de­part­ment play­ing a more ac­tive role in the process” NFU Cymru is seek­ing clar­i­fi­ca­tion on the def­i­ni­tion of a “large- scale de­vel­op­ment” amid con­cerns it could re­late to any­thing from a new dairy par­lour to a four-bay barn.

It is un­der­stood Anglesey’s new plan­ning regime has al­ready pre­scribed an 18-tonne weight limit on roads ap­proach­ing a dairy farm.

Iestyn Pritchard, the union’s county ad­viser for Anglesey, said: “We are not nec­es­sar­ily op­posed to the regime as we un­der­stand any new de­vel­op­ment has the po­ten­tial to in­crease traf­fic. We just want to get a bet­ter idea of how it may af­fect farm­ers.

“Next month’s meet­ing is an op­por­tu­nity for mem­bers to ar­tic­u­late the par­tic­u­lar re­quire­ments of their busi­nesses so that the coun­cil bet­ter un­der­stands their needs.”

In re­cent decades the size of trac­tors and lor­ries has grown sig­nif­i­cantly, and one con­cern is that weight limit curbs may ex­ac­er­bate traf­fic is­sues.

Iestyn said: “If, for ex­am­ple, a 41-tonne ar­tic­u­lated lorry is deemed too heavy for a new in­dus­trial unit, the load may in­stead have to be split between mul­ti­ple ve­hi­cles,” he said.

“This will then only serve to in­crease the amount of traf­fic.”

While a puni­tive regime could place Anglesey’s farm­ers at a dis­ad­van­tage, NFU Cymru is also con­cerned other coun­cils across Wales may even­tu­ally fol­low suit.

A coun­cil spokesper­son said the high­ways de­part­ment is hop­ing to open a “con­struc­tive di­a­logue” with farm­ers.

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