Church Pulverbatch Parish Council
From our partners Safer Roads Partnership in West Mercia
The Safer Roads Partnership, West Mercia Police and Warwickshire Police are reminding motorists to drive carefully on rural roads this autumn and take extra care where there is mud on the roads.
Agriculture is one of the key industries within our region, and harvesting a wide variety of crops at this time of year sees an increase in agricultural vehicles on the road. However, this burst of activity traditionally sees a rise in road collisions, many of which are preventable.
A particular hazard at this time of year is caused by mud and debris being brought onto the roads by tractors and other vehicles that have been working in the fields. Under the Highways Act (1980), farmers and contractors have a legal obligation to ensure their vehicles are cleared of any mud or debris before entering the public highway.
Anna Higgins, Communications Manager at the Safer Roads Partnership, said:
“We’re advising all motorists to take extra care on rural roads during the late harvest season. Excess mud is a danger to cars, motorbikes and cyclists and can change the way a vehicle handles and can cause skidding, especially in wet conditions like we’ve had recently.
“If you see a ‘mud on the road’ sign please take this seriously, drive with caution and treat this the same way that you would with icy or slippery roads.”
Superintendent Lee Davenport, Policing Operations, West Mercia and Warwickshire Police, said:
“Every year we face problems with agricultural vehicles leaving large amounts of mud and debris on the roads during the harvest season. While the majority of farmers take steps to ensure they keep the roads clear and safe, not all are as diligent.
“We would like to remind farmers and contractors of their responsibilities under the Highways Act. We have already taken action against offenders who haven’t complied with this legislation, and will continue to take a tough stance against anyone who we believe is being reckless and irresponsible.”
Sarah Faulkner, NFU regional environment and rural affairs adviser, said:
“Farm operations at this time of the year could lead to mud being drawn out of fields. For this reason, it is important for farmers and contractors to have a plan to warn other road users of the hazard and clean the road as soon as possible, throughout the operation if required. Having working lights is also a legal requirement to travel on the roads and with the evenings drawing in, there is an even greater need for good lights to ensure you’re as visible to other drivers as possible.
“There is, however, a real need for other road users to continue to bear with the farming community and be aware of farm vehicles when out and about on the roads. The NFU is also working with the police and councils to raise awareness of the issue at key times of the year.”
Drivers of agricultural vehicles or anyone wishing to report issues regarding debris or mud on the road can contact Shropshire Council on 0345 678 9006.