Hillsborough farmers concerned with the impending ban on heavy vehicles entering the village have been assured they have no reason for alarm.
This follows on from last year’s news that heavy lorries face being banned from entering Hillsborough Village following a long-running campaign by people in the area to get noisy trucks barred.
Speaking on behalf of local farmers David Dunlop said the rural community is concerned how the restrictions will affect their businesses.
He explained: “This is particulary concerning for farmers with land on both sides of the village.”
“It will also raise health and safety concerns as if farmers and contractors are going to have to use the A1 this will result in longer journeys and extra fuel costs,“ he added.
Local MLA Mrs Brenda Hale however has moved to quash any fears that local farmers may have.
She commented: “I want to re-assure local farmers that access into areas that will have weight restrictions applied will not impact on local farmers in any way.
“Access for tractors, farm vehicles and milk lorries will not be negatively impacted in any way and they will be able to continue to access their farms as normal.”
Jeffrey Donaldson, MP, said he too is aware of the farmers’ concerns but explained he has been in consultation with the Ulster Farmers Union, Roads Service and the PSNI and has been assured that local farmers will have access to their land.
He expressed that the target of the weight restrictions is Heavy Goods Vehicle’s and “local businesses, farmers and land owners will not be affected”.
DRD spokesperson said: “The Department has met with representatives from the Ulster Farmers’ Union to discuss the proposal. Once fully developed the Department plans to consult with stakeholders which will include organisations representing the road haulage industry.
“Part of the proposal is that certain vehicles such as buses, agricultural vehicles, and goods vehicles servicing premises within the centre of Hillsborough would be exempt from the restriction.
“Responses received from a public consultation exercise will be fully taken into account before a final decision is taken on the issue.”