Tractor drivers defended after huge tailback near Sidmouth

Sidmouth residents have spoken out about long tailbacks caused by tractors. Credit: Thinkstock

Sidmouth residents have spoken out about long tailbacks caused by tractors. Credit: Thinkstock - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Readers have defended farm workers after a ‘selfish’ tractor driver caused a huge tailback near Sidmouth.

Last month, the Herald reported how Sidmouth resident Leonard Lewis had driven past a queue of 36 cars stuck behind a tractor on the A3052 on his way to Exeter.

The 75-year-old hit out at how the tractor driver, who he claimed had passed numerous stopping options, ignoring them all and leaving many frustrated drivers in its wake. He said it was a frequent occurrence on that road.

In response, readers took to Facebook to share their views.

One of those who commented was Jean Kirby who suggested that tractors should only be allowed on the main roads at certain times and ‘certainly not in rush hours’.

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She said: “The law says they should pull in and let other vehicles pass every so often - 36 cars in this case is clearly not on. Take their number and report it to the police, along with another witness.

“As in all cases above some drivers have respect for others and abide by the rules, and others give tractor, farm vehicles and cyclists a bad name.”

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Ali Swaffield, 57, who runs a small business doing farmwork for others and lives in Ottery, argued that tractor drivers had a job to do like everyone else and questioned how they could do it if they were only allowed on main roads at certain times. She said: “A lot of us already get up very early and finish very late to produce your food.

“If you’re lucky enough to have all your fields and any processing areas all connected without having to go out on a road then you’re a very lucky farmer. What is the correct form of transport? Should farmers have this ‘correct’ transport meeting them at every field exit?

“Even if some other form of transport were available, what on earth would it have to be? Have you thought of attending an Open Farm Sunday? Or asking a farmer to show you round their farm and explain how your food is produced? It’s sad that in a rural area, people are becoming so disconnected from farming.”

Judith Beckett, 54, from Budleigh Salterton, said: “We live in the countryside, be thankful for the fact that every time you are behind a tractor that means there is still a farmer who hasn’t gone out of business.”

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