Farmers face the risk of being fined £1,000 for driving vehicles weighing more than 3.5tonnes without the right paperwork, warns NFU Scotland (NFUS).
New legislation, which came into force on Tuesday, requires all farmers and their employees to have gained the Certificate of Professional Competence if they are required to drive vehicles weighing more than 3.5tonnes.
The union warned many farmers across the country were still in the dark about the new rules.
The rules apply to goods vehicles and not to tractors and trailers or four wheel drive vehicles and trailers. They also apply to minibuses with more than 8 seats so may impact on farmers who regularly transport staff.
“Drivers of goods vehicles, including floats, over 3.5tonnes must have undertaken at least 35 hours of continued professional competence (CPC) training and do so every five years,” said NFUS legal and technical committee chairman Jamie Smart.
“Despite our efforts, the Driving and Vehicle Standards Agency has stated that there is no blanket exemption available for agriculture.”
He said drivers who required a category C or D licence were required to have completed the CPC training before Tuesday.
Failure to comply, warned Mr Smart, could result in a fine of up to £1,000 and penalty points on an operator’s licence.
He said: “For those that haven’t yet obtained a CPC, our advice is to go through the training as soon as possible. You can contact your local machinery ring, or use the course finder tool online to find a CPC course near you.”
He said NFUS was working with the NFU in England and Wales and the British Agricultural Bureau in Brussels to see how the legislation was working elsewhere in Europe.
“In the absence of any derogation, farmers should be considering training,” added Mr Smart.
NFU Scotland has urged members to call its free Agricultural Vehicle Helpline, which is manned by Mr Smart, on 07733 136 424. More information is also available on the union’s website.