Mud on the road

Devon and Cornwall Police urges all road users in its policing area, which consists of many rural roads, to take a responsible attitude to mud and other obstructions on the road and to be aware of the potential danger they pose.

Allowing soil or refuse from land next to a public highway to fall, be washed, or carried on to the road (or causing any other obstruction) could be an offence under the Highways Act 1980 sections 137, 148, 149, and 161. People who do so, including but not limited to farmers and builders, have a responsibility to take all reasonable care to clear up excessive amounts of mud or debris

This is a rural area and drivers of vulnerable vehicles such as motorcycles also need to be aware of the potential attendant hazards on rural roads and drive or ride defensively. Please visit Driving on country roads for more advice.

How to report

Members of the public should contact Highways England to report mud on the strategic network of motorways and major A roads in Devon and Cornwall by calling 0300 123 5000 or by emailing Highways England

Local authorities in Devon and Cornwall also have online facilities by which to report obstructions on the road such as mud, illegal signs, overhanging tree branches, hedges, builders’ skips or scaffolding.

Urgent reports in Devon can be made by calling 0345 155 1004 or if the obstruction is not presenting an imminent threat to life or serious injury online at Report a Problem.

Similarly for Cornwall you can call 0300 1234 222 or report on-line at Report mud or spillages on the road.

Torbay Council: Report online at Spillages!

Advice to road users

Devon County Council has a factsheet Roads and Farmers which may be useful to farmers in respect of responsibilities and liabilities on public roads.

The NFU provides valuable advice for what you need to know about mud on the road!

Contacting the police

If anyone sees large amounts of mud which they genuinely consider to pose an immediate danger to other road users, which is more likely on faster A or B routes, or if the obstruction has caused a collision, then it is acceptable to inform the police by calling 999.

However this must be done immediately from the scene if it is safe to do so, or if not as soon as possible afterwards. Otherwise, they should inform the relevant authorities (listed above) or email or call 101.

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