Farmers are being reminded about the dangers of leaving mud on roads after a spike in accidents caused by muddy deposits in the South West.
According to Devon and Cornwall Police, there were 18 collisions between 1 January and 25 February this year caused by deposits, including mud on regional roads.
Rural insurer Cornish Mutual said common sources of the problem were farm vehicles, run-off from fields, and animals using the highways, particularly during wet weather.
Blocked ditches and drains can also cause flooding which leaves mud and debris behind.
Read also: Police warn farmers over muddy roads
The Highways Act 1980 makes it an offence to deposit mud on to roads, and the Water Resources Act 1991 and the law of public nuisance also have provisions relating to mud on the road.
Even mud from vehicles not belonging to the landowner, for example, a contractor spreading muck on the fields or a milk tanker can still be the landowner’s responsibility, said Alan Goddard, managing director of Cornish Mutual.
If the mud came off their land and they knew about the mud and could have prevented it or cleared it up.
“We understand how the weather has made life difficult for farmers and landowners, which is why we are taking this opportunity to remind them of this potential hazard,” Mr Goddard added.
“We would urge them to read our advice regarding preventative measures and check they have the appropriate Public Liability insurance cover in place.”
Tips to prevent/warn public of mud on roads (courtesy of Cornish Mutual)
- Ensure field gateways on to roads are well drained
- Hard core of chippings can be used on gateways/farm tracks to reduce spread of mud
- Wash down tractor tyres before going on to the roads
- Driving at lower speeds can reduce the spreading of muck and mud
- Clean down roads at the end of the day
- Signs warning of “slippery roads” can be used to alert drivers
For further information, visit the Cornwall Council website to download The farmer and the highway document.