Island Roads - request for help in keeping highway clear of mud and other debris

Island Roads has requested the CLA's help in making landowners and businesses aware of their legal duty to keep the highway clear of mud and other debris. 

Island Roads say that whilst the vast majority of landowners do act in a responsible manner, there have been some cases recently where mud and debris being driven on to the highway from adjoining fields has caused significant issues.  Recently, it was necessary to close a section of the main Yarmouth to Newport Road while excessive and dangerous amounts of mud were cleaned away. Such was the extent of the problem, that specialist cleaning equipment had to be used to do this and considerable disruption was caused to road users.

Farmers and other vehicle operators who deposit mud on the road are potentially liable for a number of offences and a range of powers are available to the police and highways department, primarily under the Highways Act 1980 and Road Traffic Act 1988.

The Highways Act 1980 Section 137 says: "If a person, without lawful authority or excuse, in any way wilfully obstructs the free passage along a highway he is guilty of an offence."

Highways Act 1980 Section 148 continues: "If without lawful authority or excuse a person deposits anything whatsoever on a highway to the interrruption of any user of the highway he is guilty of an offence."

Landowners should do everything possible to prevent mud being deposited on the road. Steps include cleaning mud from vehicles, as far as practicable, before they are taken onto the road. They should also ensure that labour and equipment is available and is suitable for the soil and weather conditions present.

Island Roads have the power to pursue relevant parties for the cost involved in removing the material where they have had to do so in order to maintain the safety of the highway.

Further helpful guidance has been produced by Cornwall County Council - click here to read.

Kevin Burton, Island Roads’ network manager said: "We are not suggesting either CLA or the NFU members are responsible for any of these recent incidents but these organisations have previously been extremely helpful in assisting us in getting message out into the rural community.”

For further information please contact Kevin Burton at Island Roads on 01983 822440 or email