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Union issues muddy road reminder

With ploughing, sowing and potato harvesting ongoing across Scotland, NFUS has issued a timely reminder to farmers on the need, where possible, to keep roads free from mud and muck for the safety of other road users.

During normal cultivating and harvesting operations mud or muck may inevitably end up on the road.   The vast majority of farmers are already aware of their legal requirement to try to avoid this where possible, and where unavoidable, proper signage and cleaning up as soon as is practically possible is necessary.

NFU Scotland’s Policy Director Scott Walker said:

“The combination of wetter weather and deteriorating soil conditions means that there is always a clamour on farm at this time of year to finish harvesting, sowing and ploughing.  While completing those tasks is a priority, the vast majority of farmers still take the time to remember their responsibilities to other road users and work hard to keep roads clear of muck and mud.

“The fact that farmers have to balance hectic fieldwork with finding time to clear up roadways afterwards can be difficult but the fact that most farmers make the effort is something that I believe the general public recognise and appreciate.

“While most farmers clear up roads as a matter of course, it is worth reminding all producers that depositing mud on the road is an offence under the Highways Act.   As such, it is the legal responsibility of the farmer to ensure that every precaution is taken to avoid any mud carried off fields is deposited on the road.

“During normal cultivating and harvesting operations some mud will inevitably end up on the road.  If there is a danger of this happening then farmers or contractors should use proper signage to alert other road users and any mud or muck on the road should be removed as soon as practical or at least at the end of the working day.

“Cleaning roads at the end of a working day presents its own challenges for the safety of farmers and their staff, given that daylight is likely to be fading.  While looking to maintain the safety of the road for users, the safety of those with the task of cleaning the road must be taken into consideration if accidents are to be avoided.  High visibility workwear, signs and the use of hazard warning lights would all make good common-sense.”

Notes to Editors
NFU Scotland has a factsheet regarding mud on the roads available for its members.  The key guidance is:

  • Mud, deposited by tractors and /or appliances when on public roads, should be removed as soon as practical or at least at the end of the working day.
  • Do everything possible to prevent mud being deposited on the road.   This includes cleaning mud from vehicles, as far as practicable, before they are taken onto the road.
  • If there is a danger of mud being accidentally deposited on roads, use authorised ‘Slippery Road’ signs with a ‘Mud on Road’ sub plate to alert other road users.
  • Mud on Road warning signs should be placed at the extremities of any fouling of the carriageway and signs should be fitted with flashing beacons on 'A' Roads.
  • Make sure signs are positioned to give maximum visibility and warning to other road users.
  • Keep a written record of your decisions on whether or not to deploy signs and/or to clean the road.
  • Where a contractor is used, ensure that prior agreement is reached on who is responsible for mud on road issues (signage, cleaning etc).
  • Be prepared to hire in equipment to clean up accidentally deposited mud – check availability in advance.

Ends

Comtact Bob Carruth on 0131 472 4006

Date Published:

News Article No.: 143/10


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