Public road

I live in the countryside and I do my best to keep my property clean and tidy. I am fed up however of other road users destroying the public road with clay, muck etc. Surely there is a law prohibiting this practice? Please advise me.

Provisions within the Roads Act 1993 address the prevention of damage to public roads and the protection of people who use them. While most landowners are careful when using public roads for agricultural activities, there may also be instances where roads are damaged through careless and unlawful activities.

It is an offence to allow any material, such as clay, slurry or fodder, onto a public road, where such material is, or could be a hazard to road users or interferes with the safe use or maintenance of the road.

Landowners are obliged to ensure that:

a. The transport of winter fodder over public roads is on the basis that there is no alternative off-road means of access.

b. Adequate measures are in place between gateways and storage locations to minimise the amount of clay that is carried onto the public road.

c. Tyres of tractors, etc, are regularly washed down to ensure that soil is not carried onto the public road.

d. Fodder, plastic or twines are not left on grass margins.

e. Livestock are kept and fed an adequate distance from the road so that road drainage is not interfered with and slurry is prevented from flowing onto the public road.

f. Any soil, fodder, etc, which is deposited on the road is removed immediately.

g. Vehicles are not parked for long periods on the hard shoulder/grass margins of the public road. Parking in this manner may cause damage to the public road and may also limit sight lines for roads users.

It is also an offence to deface, damage or dig up a public road without applying for, and receiving, prior permission of the county council in the form of a Road Opening Licence. It should be noted that the public road extends from fence to fence and includes footpaths/grass verges and roadside drains.

Many farmers have no choice but to transport fodder on public roads and the vast majority do so carefully and considerately of other road users. If you have difficulty with a particular neighbour I would suggest that you politely mention your concerns and try to resolve matters amicably in the best interests of all.

This column is prepared by Dolores Gacquin, solicitor. Byrne Carolan Cunningham has offices in Galway, Athlone, Moate, and Lanesboro. A person should always contact their solicitor to obtain legal advice specific to their own situation. This above column contains general advice and cannot be relied upon as legal advice. In contentious business, a solicitor may not calculate fees or other charges as a percentage or proportion of any award or settlement.

Call Byrne Carolan Cunningham on (090 ) 6478433.


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