ANGUS Council and Tayside Police have issued a warning to motorists to be aware of the hazard which mud on the roads can create.
Operators of heavy plant and agricultural vehicles are also reminded of their responsibilities, as failing to clean up and remove mud and debris from the road can be an offence under the Roads (Scotland) Act.
Angus Council’s roads spokesperson, Councillor David May, urged farmers and contractors to clear any mess as quickly as possible.
He said: “This is a problem across the country, particularly at this time of year. While everyone appreciates that farmers and contractors need to move their machines from field to field, it is vital that any mess on the roads is cleared away as soon as possible as it can pose a real danger to unsuspecting drivers and motorcyclists.
“It is the responsibility of the operators of agricultural machinery to warn drivers with appropriately placed signs but more importantly to get any mud or debris off the road as swiftly as possible.”
Inspector Grant Edward, head of Eastern Division road policing unit, echoed Councillor May’s comments.
He added: “Tayside Police, in conjunction with Angus Council as the area’s roads authority, has an agreed procedure to deal with any reported instances of mud on the road.
“This may result in the council arranging to clean the road with the costs then being recovered from the party responsible, and where necessary, tractor drivers and operators will be charged and reported to the procurator fiscal.
“We will not hesitate to take robust action where the safety of road users is being put at risk.”
Councillor Bob Spink, one of a few local councillors to live in the country, commented: “Tattie holidays may now be just a memory for folk like me and for the children just another holiday. This is a bit sad in many ways for I used to love the tattie holidays and the things I could buy with my tattie money.
“But one thing hasn’t changed: the machinery in the fields and on the roads as farmers harvest then transport their tatties to the sheds and grain to the dryer and the mud they inevitably leave on the road as they come and go.”
He continued: “As a rural person I am well aware that the farmers must go about their business and that muddy roads are an annual event, but for motorists this brings another risk, for mud not only obscures windscreens and windows but can form a very slippery surface when wet, and wet it seems to be more and more often these days.
“So I appeal to drivers to be aware of the risk and drive accordingly. Treat wet mud and soon fallen leaves as you would ice, for it is almost as bad and can give abody a richt fleg.
“Farmers are aware they have a responsibility as well of course, and an obligation to clean the road where mud is a hazard. It is all a question of balance and awareness and we wish the farmers well.
“Squeezing past combine harvesters and taking extra care on rural muddy roads especially at field entrances is part and parcel of rural life – the message is, be aware and suitably cautious.”