Police and NFU call for careful driving during harvest – by farmers and car drivers

Drivers of cars and farm vehicles need to be considerate to each other during harvest-time, according to the police and NFU.

The south east region of the union is reiterating advice issued to farmers drawn up in conjunction with the Association of Chief Police Officers on harvest machinery movements.

The NFU last week gave Acting Sergeant Andy Small an insight into motoring from behind the wheel of a combine and also a tractor with grain trailer in tow.

Mr Small’s trip on July 31 was courtesy of the Kent NFU chairman Chris Older on Romney Marsh Farms land at Chilham. 

His drive followed a meeting with representatives of the NFU, including NFU South East regional director William White.

Acting Sergeant Andy Small says: “Agriculture plays a key role within Kent’s economy and is valuable to society as a whole.
“My message today is quite clear: drivers should respect other road users and recognise that the seasonal movement of slow moving farm machinery is an essential aspect of agriculture.

“Farmers have no desire to be on the public roads for a minute longer than necessary. We ask the public to be more patient with slow farm vehicles at this busy time in the farming calendar. Kent’s traffic officers constantly monitor driving behaviour and seek to promote responsible use of our roads, be they motorways or more minor thoroughfares.”

Kent NFU chairman Chris Older said: “Adapt your driving to the road and be prepared for unusual or difficult situations beyond a bend, such as slow moving farm machinery.”     

The NFU worked with ACPO to publish a ten point code of conduct, included in its business guide on harvest machinery movements, which is published exclusively for NFU members.

The guide recommends that farmers should check whether they need to notify local police prior to moving large machinery or wide loads.  Farmers are also advised to use flashing amber beacons, use dipped headlights and warning signs in the appropriate circumstances.