There have been calls for lockdown restrictions to be eased to allow tractor tests for agricultural workers.
The National Farmers' Union of Scotland has said that if testing is not allowed to go ahead soon essential springtime work like sowing and cultivation will be impeded.
This is because there will be a lower supply of adequately qualified workers to help farmers carry out these tasks.
Borders MP, John Lamont, has joined calls for the essential tractor testing to be allowed to resume.
Due to lockdown restrictions, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA) have suspended all tractor testing.
John Lamont MP wrote to the UK Government Minister for Roads, Baroness Vere of Norbiton, to ask for these tests to be allowed to resume.
However, she said that ‘attending a tractor test is not in line with the current Scottish Government’s guidance’ and that the ‘safety of examiners, instructors and candidates must always remain a priority’.
The Minister went on to say that she is continuing discussion with the Scottish Government’s transport agency, Transport Scotland, about making decisions on resuming testing.
To help with the expected backlog of testing when Scottish Government restrictions allow, the UK Government will offer overtime to examiners, buy back annual leave, and conduct out of hours testing.
It has also started a recruitment campaign to increase the testing availability by increasing the number of examiners.
John Lamont MP said:
“Safety and reducing the spread of Covid-19 is obviously the priority right now. But it is important that key sectors like farming can continue without impediment.
“There is a real worry that lockdown is causing problems for young agricultural workers unable to pass their test and help out farmers. This is especially the case in a rural area like the Borders.
“I hope that tractor driving tests can resume soon. The DVSA and Transport Scotland need to work together on this and come to a safe solution quickly.”