Farmers have been reminded of their legal obligation to keep roads clear of mud and muck deposited from tractors, trailers and implements.
NFU Scotland (NFUS) issued the reminder as potato and veg harvesting, ploughing, planting and muck-spreading continues across Scotland.
Wetter weather, deteriorating soil conditions and lower light levels can make even it more difficult to manage the volume of dirt being taken from fields to road, but NFUS has pointed out growers have a legal responsibility under Section 95 of the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984 to keep the roads clear from any materials deposited from equipment.
To ensure the road is safe for other users, preventing material being deposited on the road is best. However, where muck and mud is being carried onto the road, NFUS urges members to remember “ABCD”.
A stands for Agree who is tasked with cleaning up the material before work starts. It is the responsibility of the driver and the person instructing the work to ensure the road is kept clean.
B is for Be prepared to clear up – planning the clear up ahead of time will ensure the team have the right equipment to do the job efficiently and to a good standard.
C calls for farmers to Clearly signpost any mud on the road and use authorised “slippery road” signs with a “mud on road” sub-plate to alert other road users.
And D is for Document the decision-making by going through risk assessments and documenting the clear-up process.
Tom French, chair of the union’s legal and technical committee, said he recognised the challenge of keeping roads clear of mud.
However he added: “Aside from the legislative requirement to keep the road clear of material, it is necessary for the very important reason to protect the safety of all road users.
“We would also ask that all road users assist in making both country and major roads as safe as possible, by driving appropriately for road conditions, keeping to the speed limits and bearing in mind that many of the nation’s farmers and crofters are still working hard harvesting this year’s crops of getting ready for 2021.”
NFUS has produced a factsheet.