Skip to main content

Mud on road

We recognise that for many farmers using public roads is a necessity to prepare fields, transport produce or move machinery, however, mud on the road from farm vehicles can be a nuisance and can also present a real hazard to road users, particularly motorcyclists.

As South Gloucestershire is a largely rural area with an active agricultural industry, we have prepared the following advice and information for farmers and our residents.

Who is responsible for mud on the road?

  • farmers are responsible for cleaning up mud dropped on public roads by their own vehicles and livestock.
  • the council, as the highway authority, has a duty to assert and protect the rights of road users. Section 149 of the Highways Act 1980 gives the highways authority the power to clean the road and recover its expenses from the person causing the obstruction.

What farmers can do

  • be prepared to hire-in equipment, checking availability in advance.
  • keep to your own farm roads and minor roads whenever possible.
  • keep to low speeds to help retain mud on the vehicle, especially when only travelling a short distance.
  • be prepared to keep a written record of your decisions on whether or not to deploy signs and/or to clean the road.

What farmers must do

  • do everything possible to prevent mud being deposited on the road. This includes cleaning mud from vehicles as far as practicable before they are taken onto the road.
  • only use authorised signs. The recommended signs are the ‘Slippery Road’ triangle with ‘Mud on Road’ sub plate and, if appropriate, the ‘Men at Work’ sign should be used. Signs must be at least 750mm.
  • make sure signs are positioned to give maximum visibility and warning to other road users.
  • clean the road as necessary during the working day and always at the end of the working day.
  • where a contractor is used, ensure that prior agreement is reached on who is responsible for mud on road issues (signage, cleaning etc) and ensure that adequate public liability insurance is in place.

The law

  • Highways Act 1980 Section 161 “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”.
  • furthermore, the Road Traffic Act 1988 covers situations where a mechanically propelled vehicle is driven dangerously on a road. Driving dangerously can include driving a vehicle in a state that could cause danger to others. Punishment for these offences ranges from fines to imprisonment.
  • civil action can occur where the presence of mud results in personal injury, damage to property, loss or inconvenience. The presence of mud can constitute a public nuisance and loss or injury can result in a claim for negligence.
  • under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, employers have a duty to look after the health and safety, not only of themselves, their family and employees, but of anyone who may be affected by their working operations. Employees also have responsibilities to themselves and others.

Other spillages on the road

Substances such as liquids, oil or diesel which have spilled from vehicles or properties into the road are likely to need clearing by our StreetCare team if they have not already been dealt with by the responsible party.

Report a spillage

If the issue is an immediate threat to public safety please telephone 01454 868000 giving details of the location.

Is there anything wrong with this page?