Many thanks for your query about the use of rebated fuel in tractor runs.
Under the existing rules, agricultural vehicles, such as tractors, are entitled to run on rebated fuel when using public roads only for purposes relating to agriculture, horticulture and forestry, as well as cutting verges and hedges that border public roads, clearing snow and gritting. Agricultural tractors will remain entitled to run on rebated fuel on public roads after April 2022 for these specific purposes only, as well as for purposes relating to fish farming and for clearing or otherwise dealing with flooding.
The activities accepted as purposes relating to agriculture, horticulture and forestry are defined in HMRC Excise Notice 75. The Government considers that running or participating in events which provide information and education that benefit agriculture are purposes relating to agriculture, and this includes taking part in charitable activities that promote these industries. Examples of such events are agricultural shows, ploughing matches and charity tractor runs. HMRC will be updating Excise Notice 75 accordingly. Rebated fuel can also be used to travel to and from where the vehicles or machines are to be used for these activities.
This is certainly good news and a valuable concession. However, HMRC Excise Notice 75 has not yet been updated and, with all government regulations, the devil is always in the detail. In my view this is not a general relaxation of the rules but a very specific one and applies solely to tractors genuinely used for agriculture, or another qualifying use. In other words, and this again is my interpretation, is that a farmer can drive the farm tractor to a 'Charitable' road run and take part using rebated fuel, but that a member whose tractor whether taxed as either an historic vehicle or an agricultural machine and not genuinely used for agriculture cannot.
Most members vehicles were made as agricultural tractors but, whether taxed as either an historic vehicle or an agricultural machine are not genuinely used for agriculture as defined, they are therefore not entitled to use rebated fuel. The guidance also states that even if the DVLA's taxation class is 'agricultural machine' this in itself does not entitle the use of rebated fuel.
I do wonder why people get so obsessed by this, if it is your business, as to some of it is or was, with fuel tankers a regular visitor to the yard, the lower tax rate on rebated fuel was a very valuable concession but for the majority owners of vintage and classic tractors now in preservation the potential savings achieved by using rebated fuel for most add up to very little over a year. This is a hobby to be enjoyed, is it really worth the risk of a court appearance, possible fine and seizure of your pride and joy?
Proof of Identity: Guidance from Government agencies is from time to time updated and these updates are not always well publicised. I have to put my hands up and admit that I have been telling registration applicants to send more evidence of identity than is actually required. When applying for an age-related registration mark, the only evidence of identity required is a photocopy of your photo card driving licence you do not need to send proof of your address. I can only apologise for my mistake.
Application Delays: It appears that the delays experienced when renewing driving licences or registering vehicles were not primarily caused by staff, on full pay, being told to stay at home and not work as politicians and the press have led us to believe. But, because the new computer system is unable to handle attachments, thereby making working from home impossible. Surely, if true, this is a failure to manage and both politicians and managers are guilty of conniving to lay the blame, for which they are responsible, at someone else's door?
Andrew Green from Devon writes:
It is great to be able to report that at long last there does seem to be a much greater air of confidence in our lives and dare I say some normality. I guess this is mainly due to the fact that the upcoming show season is largely based outside, and the sun is shining which makes all the difference for a feel-good factor. It's interesting to note that quite a high number of farm dispersal and collective sales remain as online auctions which I think will continue but I also think that this is a pity as a large part of country life will be lost. Yes, it is where livestock or machinery is bought and sold but as importantly it is where friends and neighbours get together to put the world to rights!
It is indeed good to be able to give you a long line of dates for your diaries. I will begin with a plug for my own village of Coldridge, here in Mid- Devon which is holding their first Fete, Vintage Rally, Dog Show and Flower Festival on 25thJune at midday. This is normally a biennial event but is back with a vengeance after a 4-year absence! You would be very welcome to come along and bring the family with you as there is something for everyone. It has been described as one of the most quintessentially English fete fields in the country but then I'm not biased of course! Moving on, our County Show is being held on Thursday 30th June through to Saturday 2nd July at Westpoint arena. I understand there is already a useful show of entries with the theme being Ford and Fordsons and their derivatives. I am planning to be there so I hope I might catch up with some of you. The Mid Devon Show is being held on Saturday 23rd July just outside Tiverton in the grounds of Knightshayes. A nice one day show and I do plan to be there as well.
Moving on into August, there is the North Devon Show on the 3rd August, followed next day by the Honiton Show on 4th. The following week it's the Okehampton Show on the 11th, Chagford Show on the 18th and it's good to see it back! I hope to be at both of these Shows. Nick Gilbert has asked me to plug his local Show which is Christow on 20th August and the last one I shall mention is the Honiton Hill Rally which is held over the weekend of 28th and 29th August, a really great 2-day event.
Well, that's enough of a list of events but as I said earlier it's great to be able to report these in such a positive manner. I thought I would conclude with an interesting Ford tractor picture taken in 1989 from a rather unusual angle! I imagine the driver had rather a difficult and awkward climb out of his cab! Thank goodness for safety cabs and hopefully the only damage done was to the driver's injured pride!
East Dorset Trac Pack's Easter Bunny Run 16th April:
John Maiden - Dorset Representative reports:
The sun shone, and the tractors turned up for the Easter Bunny Run. So much so that we nearly ran out of room at the start in the Barley Mow pub car park. The route took us through the crowds waiting in Wimborne Minster to see the Vintage Agricultural Convoy. This was followed by a leisurely trundle through the River Stour and Tarrant valleys.
How I like them a Super Major in its working clothes - Helping change a Fergie's wheel
Lunch was at a firm pack favourite, the Witchampton Club, where more spectators came and viewed. After lunch it was over into the East Dorset area taking in many small villages including More Crichel, Horton and Holt before returning to the Barley Mow for some much-needed liquid refreshment.
Isle of Wight Working Day Saturday 16th April:
At Chapel Furlong Farm, Hulverstone, Isle of Wight, by kind permission of Todd Carder, by David Leominus. Following a 2 + year drought of working days we were lucky to be offered a field at short notice to shine up our ploughs and try to hone up our ploughing skills. We had about 15 tractors turn out on a beautiful spring day in a situation overlooking the English Channel and the Needles area of the Isle of Wight. Needless to say, there were a few rusty ploughs which struggled to get going in the very dry soil, but eventual success prevailed.
We welcomed quite a few Ford and Fordson models - a couple of Standards driven by Glen Draper and David Thompson and a newcomer to the fold Lisa Hurrell with her Super Major. Two other Majors, a Dexta, two 4000s pre-force plus a 5000 Pre-force and a 5000 Force with a NH TS90 completing the line-up.
Following donations made during the day we were able to send £500 to the local Earl Mountbatten Hospice.
71st BRITISH NATIONAL PLOUGHING CHAMPIONSHIPS
8th and 9th OCTOBER 2022
The Chatsworth Estate, Glapwell, Derbyshire S44 5QE
The Ford and Fordson Association has once again been invited to participate in the above Championships.
We have ten plots available on Sunday 9th October and invite experienced ploughmen and women who are members of the Association to apply now.
Please contact Jane Broomhall via
or telephone 01379 677866/07884 115089
Closing date 23rd June
The Witchampton Club Tractor Rally
John Maiden the FFA Dorset representative:
For once, it was a good thing that a Tractor rally had to be moved forward a day because of a local marathon. Reason being, we had glorious spring sunshine rather than the rain forecasted for the following day.
This brought the numbers, 39 tractors in all, half of them with trailers. The route in the main was on
the private and picturesque Crichel Estate, between the Allen and Tarrant valleys. The beauty of this rally was that there were many woodland tracks, all surrounded by carpets of Bluebells in bloom which made for quite a picture.
A run duration of about four hours had a welcome stop at a mobile bar provided by the club at the halfway point. There were many comfort stops in the woods too! From the greens and blues of the woods and the yellow of the oilseed rape in the fields this was a colourful run.
On our return to the Witchampton Club, we were greeted by a well-stocked bar, a barbeque and live music. A great, long and memorable Dorset day with tractors a plenty!
STRADSETT PARK VINTAGE RALLY - 1st - 2nd May
Keith Broomhall reports:
The last time I attended this show must be at least 25 years ago and it wasn't a pleasant experience. It was with our local Norfolk tractor club, and I tried to start Max Knight's Field Marshall with its starting handle and ended up with a huge whack on my thigh, painful - cartridge time. However, back to the show report. This was a pleasant experience.
The show was well laid out and catered for all types of vintage/classic enthusiasts. My particular interest, as an FFA member, was the tractor display. The E27N Major 70th anniversary was celebrated, admittedly slightly late due to covid, and there were 26 E27N Majors of all variants on display. Sadly, mine was not there as my Ford Cargo is in need of a little TLC and is out of test. I thought 48 miles on it was a little too far, having driven 34 miles to Marsham last year - never again. The FFA stand had a display of nine tractors, the highlight was Mike (Dodge) Stevenson's County Hi-Drive based on an E1A Major; Pat Pawsey decided it was 1952, an early one. Dodge had only purchased it a week before at the Cheffins April vintage sale.
The other member's tractors exhibited were Ken Bailey's 1969 2000, Michael Garnham's 1962 Super Major, Michael and Chris Platton's 1946 E27N and 1952 E1A, Stuart Eastmead's 1950 Ford N and Mark Coupland's 2000 and 4000 tractors both from 1974. A Sun Mechanical with Ford 10 engine and transmission was exhibited but unfortunately, we didn't have an exhibitor's name.
Thank you to everyone for bringing them, often travelling some distance, and supporting the Club.
As a classic car owner, a Reliant Scimitar GTE, I was very impressed with the vintage/classic car display. However, whatever your interest in the classic/vintage movement, there was something for everyone. Also, for the dog lovers, and there were a great many, the gun dog display had the largest ring crowd.
This leads me on to the ring display parades. The commentators on the various displays are all very knowledgeable people. However, watching the ringside crowd gradually leave, due to many having little or no understanding of the technical commentary, can we not have a slow continuous parade of the exhibits, a short description and less burnt-out clutches? Right, had my moan.
Will we be back next year 'YES' and we will be providing teas for FFA members and my E27N will be there. So, see you next year at Stradsett or at our next show.
Jeffrey Giblin remembers visiting the Roadless Works:
I went to the Roadless Factory on several occasions to get urgently needed parts as I had farmers and land drainage customers that were running Roadless tractors. The factory was in what was once the garden to 717 London Road Hounslow, it was in Bridge Street which is just off Stains Road. The property that had once been the garden was completely walled round except for the entrance and the factory was right at the back adjoining the house area. The building was open fronted, and the full width of the site and I don't think it had much in the way of heating or other nice working area comforts.
Later RAF Roadless Fordson N Half-track fitted with a winch
When you went to the place there were large numbers of four-wheel drive axels heaped up painted in olive green War Department colours and wheel rims of various sizes in heaps. In the area between Bridge Road entrance and the factory there were also many piles of various sized tyres and wheel weights, also outside was a large diesel oil tank. There did not appear to be much security other than the entrance gate.
I well remember in 1965 -1966 we had an enquiry from London Co-Operative Farms Ltd, Paslow Hall Farm, Blackmore for a demonstration of a tractor with a plough. This was all arranged, and the demonstration took place at Berners Hall Farm, Berners Roding. When the lorry arrived, the tractor was all painted red, including the wheels, and it did not have any markings on it. The engine was a Ford 2704 with a C.A.V. rotary fuel injection pump that, from memory, was very responsive on the governor.
I have never seen that tractor from that day since. The late Mr Van Dodge was the sales manager and came to support us. This tractor was to become the Roadless 115 and when it went on the market the salesman for London Co-Op Farm had to quote for two of them and so Ernest Doe & Sons, Fyfield, Ongar depot did get an order for those two.
If anyone has a photo of the Roadless Works would they send a copy to me Pat Pawsey please as I can find only one very poor quality one of the inside of the factory