A GROUP set up to work with the agricultural community to improve safety on Shropshire’s roads is making good progress in its work to improve education, guidance and training for all partners and agencies.

The working group, created in 2020, consists of Shropshire Council, the National Farmers Union (NFU), West Mercia Police and West Mercia's Police and Crime Commissioner (PCC) John Campion.

The group was established after the issue was raised by Councillor Joyce Barrow, chairman of Shropshire Councils Place Overview Committee, and an initial discussion at the committee’s meeting on September 3, 2020.

Councillor Barrow said: “The working group’s activity will ensure Shropshire Council staff working on our highways and dealing with residents’ concerns are better informed and knowledgeable in this area of work, and the joint training with West Mercia Police will also support widening understanding and training.

"The workshops and briefings planned by the NFU to further support the agricultural sector will allow a greater understanding of the concerns raised by residents.

“Concerns are raised to the council about this issue, but it’s also important to recognise the fantastic contribution made to the Shropshire economy by the agricultural sector.

"So, we’re working in partnership to inform, understand , share knowledge and experiences together to support safety on our roads.”

The working group will be providing joint training for council and police staff on practical matters such as the size and weight of agricultural vehicles on rural roads, mud on the road and other general safety matters.

Edward Garratt, NFU Shropshire adviser, said: “We’d like to thank Shropshire people for their continued support as our farmers go about their jobs producing great tasting, quality ingredients and food for our tables.

"The NFU is working closely with Shropshire Council, West Mercia Police and others to minimise disruption where possible and to raise awareness of issues at key times of the year.

"Most farmers and agricultural contractors do what they can to minimise the amount of issues on the roads but a timely reminder is always worthwhile and farmers will do everything in their power, when appropriate, to safely ease traffic congestion and clear mud from the roads.

"There is also a real need for other motorists to continue to bear with the farming community at peak times and be aware of farm vehicles when out and about on the county’s highways.”

Inspector Lloyd Cresswell of Force Operations, West Mercia Police, said: "This collaboration between local partners is a great way of developing closer working relationships to not only help keep our roads safer but also support the needs of communities and those working within the agricultural industry.

Mr Campion, said: “Making our roads safer is a key priority, as is understanding and responding to the concerns of our rural communities. This welcome initiative ensures Shropshire residents are given a voice, as agencies work together to ensure safety improves.”