Scottish farmers have been reminded of the need to keep roads free from mud and muck for the safety of other road users.
With potato and veg harvesting, ploughing, planting and muck spreading still ongoing across Scotland, it is still a busy period in the farming calendar.
The 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.
However, farmers and crofters have a legal responsibility under Section 95 of the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984 to keep the roads clear from any materials deposited from tractors, trailers or implements.
NFU Scotland has issued a reminder to farmers to ensure the road is safe for other users, and preventing material being deposited on the road is best, the union says.
If the road is not clear of deposits after use, the roads authority can recover the costs of cleaning the road from the person responsible.
Further, failure to comply with regulations could result in the prosecution of the driver or operator and, in the event of an accident, could lead to a claim for compensation.
Tom French, Chair of NFU Scotland’s Legal and Technical Committee said keeping roads free from mud and muck was a 'real challenge' at this time of year.
"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," he added.
“Taking the time to prevent material from initially being transferred from the field to the road is the best approach to limiting the risk mud can pose to other road users.
“Where mud and material are deposited on the road, it is important that there is a procedure in place to remove this hazard as soon as possible, and all to a sufficient standard."
Farmers told to remember 'ABCD'
NFU Scotland has urged farmers and crofters to remember the acronym 'ABCD':
• 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.
• Be prepared to clear up. Planning the clear up ahead of time will ensure you have the right equipment to do the job efficiently and to a good standard.
• Clearly signpost any mud on the road. Use authorised ‘slippery road’ signs with a ‘mud on road’ sub plate to alert other road users.
• Document your decision making. Going through your risk assessments and documenting your clear up process can evidence the steps you are taking to manage mud on the road.