Factsheet: Roads and farmers

Introduction

Liability
We can take action against landowners or occupiers who create a danger either on or next to the road. Be aware that if you don’t take adequate precautions, or fail to comply with highway legislation, then in the event of an accident you may be liable for a substantial compensation claim which might not be covered by your insurance policy.

Mud on roads
Landowners and occupiers have a duty not to obstruct the public highway, or do anything which could inconvenience or endanger the public. It is an offence under the Highways Act to allow soil or refuse from land next to a public highway to fall, be washed, or carried on to the road. If we consider mud on the road to be hazardous we will contact you and ask for it to be removed. If it isn’t removed in a reasonable time we will arrange for the work to be done and you will be charged for this. In serious cases the police can take action to ensure mud is removed.

You can get advice about reducing soil erosion from The Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group and ADAS.

Animals
Clean any mess from animals using the highway as soon as possible. If animals walk on the verge take care to prevent damage to grips and ditches and areas of special wildlife value. Whenever cattle or sheep are moved along or across a road, the person moving the animals has responsibility for safety to the highway users. At regular crossing points where visibility is poor, permanent crossing signs may be permitted. You can request these by phoning us on 0345 155 1004.

Cattle grids can only be installed on the public road after consultation with us, we may also want to provide the design specification for any grids to be installed.

Agricultural vehicles
Slow farm machines on busy roads can quickly cause long traffic queues. This can result in accidents as drivers become frustrated and take risks.

  • Vehicle widths must comply with the latest regulations, and must be suitable for the road they are going on, to avoid damaging verges and hedges.
  • Pull into laybys and similar safe spaces to allow following traffic to pass safely.
  • Avoid travel on main A roads at peak times between 7.30am to 9am and 5pm to 6.30pm.
  • Take care not to overload trailers or muck spreaders, or carry loads that overhang a long way and obstruct other traffic.

Farm gates
Gates must always open on to the field and not on to the road or verge. Gates cannot be put up across a public highway.

Storage
It is an offence to store or stand anything on the public highway or on the verges. We have legal powers to have items removed if necessary.