Muddy roads are not so glorious

The arrival of rain yesterday might have been welcomed in many parts of the country, but the return to more normal Scottish weather triggered a warning to growers about the risks of leaving mud in the road.

With the autumn harvest of potatoes and root crops along with late cut silage all underway NFU Mutual Risk Management Services warned that mud deposited on roads by tractors could lead to farmers being prosecuted and held liable if other road users skid and have an accident.

The Mutual’s Evita Van Gestel said that autumn’s harvesting and cultivation were often challenging for farmers.

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“Having measures in place to prevent mud getting onto roads – and contingency plans so mud can be cleared from roads quickly - is the best approach,” she advised yesterday.

Signage warning road users should be obvious and she said it was often necessary to have a wheel washer by field entrances and a mechanical road sweeper on stand-by - while for small farms a brush and shovel approach could be enough to clear up after one tractor.

“If mud is left on the roads, the law is clear: it’s the responsibility of the farmer to clean it up. Clear warning signs should be put up to warn other road users - but that doesn’t mean the mud can be left. It’s still the farmer’s responsibility to remove it as quickly as possible.”

She added that where contractors were doing the job, prior agreement should be reached on who was responsible for mud on road issues including use of signage and clean-up operations.

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