The new Tractor Framework Directive

The Challenge

The European directive 2003/37/EC deals with type approval of agricultural and forestry tractors, and their trailers and interchangeable towed equipment (type approval of trailed vehicles/machines being limited to road safety aspects). Before this directive came into place each of the EU member states had its own procedures and standards that allow for the registration or first use of agricultural and forestry tractors. The implementation of the requirements of this Directive means that manufacturers are able to sell their products all over Europe without having to change the designs to meet any specific local requirements. The European Commission wants to apply the principles of simplification and unification to the type approval procedures for all vehicles under type approval. The Commission proposal should be finished before end of 2009. The Commission is using the type approval procedures for the cars sector as the basis, creating new and not always appropriate requirements for the agricultural sector.

The CEMA position

CEMA has had a very positive approach towards this new proposal to look for opportunities and a way to improve on errors in communications from the past. A good example would be the clarification of the scope. CEMA request that mandatory EC type approval should be only for a number of T tractors like T1, T2 and T3. For all other tractors and machines optional EC type approval would be more appropriate as many vehicle types are for specific applications in specific regions. It would be quicker and more appropriateto allow some manufacturers to deal with them on a national rather than on European level. CEMA is in favour of inclusion of self-propelled agricultural vehicles in the scope for optional EC road type approval as a means to harmonize road safety technical requirements in Europe. It would clear the way for European harmonization. CEMA believes it appropriate that certain small trailers and interchangeable towed machinery e.g. machines that do not need braking requirements, should fulfil all requirements for EC type approval but by selfcertification. However CEMA is still very concerned on a number of subjects that have nothing to do with type approval but would have a deep impact on the sector. A good example is the requirement that “Manufacturers shall provide unrestricted and standardized access to vehicle repair and maintenance information to independent operators” or the provisions for “recall of vehicles”.

The goal is harmonization and fast technical adaptation to the state of the keeping the parts of the current system that work appropriate and seek opportunities for an even more efficient system, e.g. an explicit exclusion of tractors from the scope of the Machinery Directive.” 

Antoon Vermeulen (CNH)