mud on the road

Mud on the Road

As described in the previous article wet and frosty weather is a hazard on rural roads.

Mud being deposited on the road from timber haulage and other traffic coming out of forest roads exacerbates this and can be a significant hazard for other road users, particularly motorcyclists.  It can result in serious and even fatal incidents.

Vehicle operators, contractors and farmers who deposit mud on the road are potentially liable for a range of offences. Below are just a few of the powers that are available to the Police (the list is not complete).

Highways Act 1980
Section 137 – if a person, without lawful authority or excuse, in anyway wilfully obstructs the free passage along a highway he is guilty of an offence.
Section 148 states – if a person, without lawful authority or excuse a person deposits anything whatsoever on a highway to the interruption of any user of the highway he is guilty of an offence.
Section 149 states – if anything is deposited on the highway so as to constitute a nuisance/danger the Highway Authority can require the person who put it there to remove it forthwith. (mud causes skidding and is therefore dangerous and a nuisance).
Section 161 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.

Punishment for these offences range from fines to imprisonment.

Expenses incurred by the highways authority can also be recovered from having to clean an obstruction on the highway under the Act.

What can we do to mitigate the risk of trailing mud out on to the road?

Here is one example:-
During a Harvesting job in Scottish Borders, where on average c.750 tonnes were despatched per week, coincided with prolonged periods of frost and snow, complaints were received from the local community council, via the South Scotland Timber Transport manager, that wagons were bringing mud onto the council road.

Signage was in place highlighting Timber Wagons Turning and that there was the likelihood of Mud on Road.
An agreement was made with the purchaser of the standing sale that the council road would be swept twice a week, at the access point, during the worst of the weather.

An additional option was to consider laying c.150m of crushed stone to help reduce the amount of mud being brought out, but the majority of the remaining timber was to be taken out using another access that was awaiting planning permission to be widened. This work was completed
to open up the other access to timber haulage. Good quality, crushed stone was brought in and laid, to create a better running surface and reduce the amount of material being brought out onto the council road. The access was shaped and drainage was in place to help ensure the entrance was kept as clean as possible.