South West Liberal Democrat MEP Graham Watson has welcomed the defeat of proposed MoT-style tests for livestock trailers.

The proposal, which was part of the EU Roadworthiness Package, would have introduced regular and costly tests for larger tractors and all livestock trailers.

This proposal was criticised by farming unions as unworkable and unnecessary, and would have significantly increased costs for most farmers without improving safety.

After intensive campaigning from Sir Graham Watson MEP and his Liberal Democrat colleagues, the final agreement reached between the European Parliament, the commission and the council does not include MoT-style testing of all livestock trailers.

Sir Graham said: “This agreement is a welcome bit of common sense from the European Commission.

"We all want our roads to be as safe as possible, but this would only mean an increased burden on our farmers with little or no safety benefit.”

“Under the new compromise, livestock trailers will not be required to have annual MoT tests.

"Testing will only cover tractors with a top speed over 40kmh which are used mainly on public roads. This is a crucial change for West Country farmers.

“The UK Government is committed to cutting red tape, and I am pleased our concerns have been taken into account and that the final agreement recognises that this requirement was an unnecessary and disproportionate burden on our farming industry.”

The original proposal was that all O2-graded trailers, such as normal livestock trailers towed behind a four-wheel drive vehicle, would have been subject to MoT-style testing.

The final agreement is likely later this year when the European Parliament and member states' ministers are expected to formally adopt the Roadworthiness package with the new compromise.