Farmers in Cornwall are being advised to beware of the risk of serious accidents due to leaving mud on roads.

The health and safety initiative is being led by rural insurers Cornish Mutual and legal firm Ashfords LLP.

The companies warn that excessive mud left behind by farm vehicles, animals and run-off from fields can lead to serious accidents and may also mean a farmer is breaking the law. 

The Highways Act 1980, the Water Resources Act 1991 both have provisions relating to mud on the road, and farmers have a legal obligation to ensure they clean up any debris.

Landowners also need to be aware that they are also responsible for mud left behind from contractors if the mud comes off their land.

Flora Wood, partner and head of Ashfords’ Personal Injury Team, said:

“Always make sure that you agree with a contractor who is responsible for clearing up any mud.

“The best safeguard for farmers and landowners is to adopt a clear policy to avoid mud and stick to it. A written record of action taken to reduce mud is advisable for any activity involving a risk of bringing mud onto the roads.”

Farmers and landowners are advised to take preventative measures such as ensuring field gateways are well drained, spreading hard core or chipping to reduce the spread of muck and washing tractor tyres down before going onto the road.

Cornish Mutual also recommends that farmers and landowners have Public Liability insurance in the event an accident occurs.