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Staffordshire villagers warn of road accident risk from slurry spills

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: August 03, 2014

Cresswell Road, Hilderstone

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CARELESS contractors are putting lives at risk by spilling slurry on country lanes, community leaders have warned.

The scramble to get muck spreading done during permitted times is leading to some tractor drivers cutting corners and driving recklessly, Hilderstone Parish Council heard.

"When you live in the countryside you know you are going to get a bit of mud on the roads, but large spillages of slurry are something else," parish council vice chairman Michael Shelley said.

"It is more than just a nuisance - it is a real danger if a motorcyclist was to hit it.

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"If it caused a fatal accident the farmers and contractors would find themselves liable."

Parish council chairman Roy Clark said he had taken photographs of spillages and some of the tractors and trailers involved and was passing them on to the police and the county council.

"This is a real problem for road safety," he said.

And Councillor Hazel Woodward said farm vehicles also travelled "far too fast" through the village.

"The contractors are scrambling to get the job done as quickly as possible," she said.

Stafford borough councillor Andrew Harp told the meeting that the usual reaction of the highways authority was just to put up a warning sign, but he added: "An unsafe load is illegal and the police ought to be dealing with it.

"I fear that this problem will only get worse because of legislation restricting muck spreading to certain times of year. It means the pressure is on to work as quickly as possible."

The council agreed to raise the issue with Councillor Mark Winnington, Staffordshire County Council cabinet member for highways, and also to consider approaching the NFU and the CLA about the slurry problem.

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