MP joins fight to clear muddy roads between Chatteris and Mepal

Stephen Barclay

Stephen Barclay - Credit: Archant

Pleas for road safety improvements along a major Fen road have been stepped up following three accidents in just one week.

MP Steve Barclay is backing Witcham Parish Council’s campaign to secure safety measures along the A142 Chatteris to Mepal straight.

Parish clerk Susan Bell wrote to Mr Barclay to enlist his support following a council meeting.

She said councillors were concerned about the mud and maize on the road creating a greasy road surface and constant dirty windscreens which she said were particularly hazardous in the low sun conditions at this time of the year.

Mrs Bell said: “Last year we had the same problem and despite best efforts by the contractors to sweep and swill the road, conditions were frequently atrocious.

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“Councillors report that our local drivers are complaining about convoys of up to eight, or even more, agricultural vehicles and plant on the A142 anywhere between Ely and Chatteris, and this is causing frustration for other road users.

“We are advised that these agricultural vehicles and plant are being used to haul maize from a wide surrounding area to the local maize digesters.”

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NFU Cambridgeshire county chairman Bob Lawrence said it was essential that farmers took steps to minimise the impact of mud on the road.

The NFU has worked with the police and local authorities to produce a code of best practice on keeping highways clean.

“Farmers take road safety extremely seriously. No farmer wants to cause an accident and our members are doing everything practical to keep roads clear,” said Mr Lawrence.

“We’ve reminded them of the steps they need to take in newsletters and our members’ magazine, and the issue is raised regularly at local NFU meetings as well.”

The NFU advice includes cleaning mud from vehicles before they are taken onto the road and putting out warning signs.

Mr Lawrence said: “We would also ask motorists to drive with caution if they see a mud-on-the-road warning sign.”

Mr Barclay has written to the police and other authorities urging them to monitor road safety from mud on the roads.

He said: “I am aware of the problems caused on local roads from harvesting maize and have asked the police to monitor unnecessary levels of mud which can be a risk to motorists.

“We are a farming area and with the economic benefits agriculture brings to the Fens some challenges will arise, and I welcome the steps the NFU is taking to minimise this.

“It is often contractors and not farmers who are responsible for the mud on the roads and the police have written to me to confirm they are aware of the public concerns on this issue and will monitor it closely in the weeks ahead.”

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