Mud On Herefordshire Roads Is Putting Lives At Risk
West Mercia Police is warning farmers in Herefordshire that it will not hesitate to take legal action after dealing with numerous dangerous situations caused by mud being left on the county's roads.
In response, officers have been specifically tasked to patrol Herefordshire's roads on the lookout for farm vehicles dropping mud after dozens of calls were received by the force yesterday and three A-roads had to be closed.
Police are investigating whether dangerous road conditions led to three collisions that occurred in the county, one of which has caused serious injuries.
At 4.20pm yesterday, an Army Land Rover and a Fiat Punto collided on the A465 between Didley and Wormbridge, leaving the female soldier driving the Land Rover with serious neck injuries and the Punto driver with a broken leg.
A car was involved in a minor collision at 5.15pm yesterday evening on the A417 at Burley Gate. The road had to be closed for more than three hours because there was so much mud on the road it was deemed too dangerous for vehicles to use until Highways operatives had cleaned the road.
The road was so dangerous that a tractor lost grip while driving along the road and officers at the scene found it dangerous to walk on.
Meanwhile, a car also ended up on its roof in Clehonger yesterday morning as a mother drove her children to school, although none of them were hurt. Also, the A4103 Hereford to Worcester road was closed for short time near the Newtown Crossroads due to mud being left on the road.
Chief Inspector Adam Thomas said: "Every autumn, we face problems with farm vehicles leaving large amounts of mud on the roads during the autumn harvest as they move crops such as sugar beat, potatoes and hops.
"While some farmers take steps to make sure they keep the roads clear and safe, not all are as diligent, so this year we have done a lot of work to remind farmers of their responsibilities and liabilities under the Highways Act.
"The West Mercia Safer Roads Partnership has been pushing a major publicity campaign and we have been working closely with the National Farmers' Union to get our messages across.
"However, we are still receiving dozens of calls from the public about hazardous driving conditions caused by mud being left on the road and I am worried that someone could be killed.
"Therefore we are taking a tough stance on the issue: response officers are patrolling looking for problems and they will not hesitate in taking action against anyone they believe is being irresponsible and reckless.
"Meanwhile, Safer Neighbourhood Teams will be speaking to their local farmers to ensure they are abiding by the law."
Issued: Thursday 1 November 2012