Farmers and construction vehicle operators are being reminded of their legal obligation to keep roads mud-free.
North Yorkshire County Council has issued an appeal following reports of muddy roads.
The council is reminding those who deposit the mud that they are potentially liable for a range of offences.
A number of powers are available to the police and the highway authority, mainly under the Highways Act 1980 and the Road Traffic Act 1988.
Farmers or construction vehicle operators must, the council, said:
- Keep to their own farm roads whenever possible
- Keep to low speeds and prevent mud from being deposited by removing any excess before driving on to roads
- Prepare to hire equipment to promptly remove deposits
- Use authorised signs prominently positioned for road users to see
- Clean the road as necessary during the working day and always at the end
- Ensure that equipment and labour is available and is suitable for the soil and weather conditions
- When using a contractor, reach agreement beforehand on who is responsible for mud on the road (signs, cleaning etc) and that suitable public liability insurance is in place.
The Highways Act 1980 states: “If a person, without lawful authority or excuse, deposits anything whatsoever on a highway in consequence of which a user of the highway is injured or endangered, that person is guilty of an offence.”
The Road Traffic Act 1988 covers a vehicle being driven dangerously on a road. Driving dangerously can include using a vehicle in a state that could cause danger to others. Punishment for these offences ranges from fines to imprisonment.
‘There are some that break the law’
County Councillor Don Mackenzie, Executive Member for Highways, said: “Every year, we face problems with mud and other debris deposited on our roads.”
“We recognise that most farmers and operators of construction vehicles act responsibly, but unfortunately there are some that break the law.”
“As the highway’s authority, the county council has a duty to ensure the roads are in a safe condition for all drivers.”
Farmers and contractors are reminded of their responsibilities under the Highways Act.
“If mud results in personal injury, damage to property, loss or inconvenience, civil action can occur. It can constitute a public nuisance and loss, or injury can result in a claim for negligence.” Mackenzie concluded.