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Why don't cyclists use the cycle lane? Because a farmer has dumped hundreds of tonnes of sugar beet in it

A farmer later apologised for the beet blockage believed to weigh up to 700 tonnes and said they "certainly didn't go out of our way to cause havoc" but "it's kicked off big time"...

Barely three weeks into the new year and we already have a strong contender for the strangest story of the year — a cycle lane in Suffolk blocked by a dumped pile of sugar beet estimated to weigh 700 tonnes.

The Ipswich Star reports the crop, which caused confusion and some amusement when it was spotted in the cycleway and bus route on the Old Norwich Road just outside Ipswich on Tuesday, has since been removed.

A lorry and JCB were photographed at the site on Wednesday morning as the crop mountain was removed, a farmer apologising for the disruption caused by his baffling beet blockage, before saying the wet weather meant he had been unable to get lorries onto his land.

The route links from the north-west of Ipswich to the Hill View Business Park, the stretch of road in question closed to traffic except permit holders, buses and cyclists, perhaps explaining the decision to leave the load on a perceived quieter route, however as Suffolk County Council pointed out "it's a live bus route" and the beet was "covering part of the path and cycleway".

Old Norwich Road (Google Maps)
Old Norwich Road (Google Maps)

John Latham of Blakenham Farms said he had used the location to store produce before and that it was only meant to be a temporary solution ahead of the beet's transportation to British Sugar later in the week, a move that was brought forward following objections from Suffolk Highways and the council.

"Because of the extreme weather conditions we've had, we tried to avoid getting mud onto the highways," he said. "We used to use that lay-by several years ago to store our sugar beet, but it's kicked off big time. I've since found out in the sense that the road is no longer going to be deemed a lay-by. No markings have been put up though, and no traffic goes through there – only buses and cyclists.

"They parked all the parts for that large generator that went up to Eye a few weeks ago, too. Perhaps in hindsight, I should have contacted the council and I apologise for that. We certainly didn't go out of our way to cause havoc. I've been working at the farm for 37 years and never had anything like this before."

It is estimated the mountain totalled 700 tonnes. With the 2024-25 British Sugar and the National Farmers Union contract stating the crop is valued at £40 per tonne, the dumped beet would have been worth up to £28,000.

Suffolk Highways raised the alarm on Tuesday, saying the load had been "fly-tipped", an accusation which many within the farming community rejected, before the council later stated it did not know "why it's there, or who put it there".

A Suffolk Highways spokesperson commented on the bizarre situation, saying: "We were unaware that the produce would be left at the location. The road is a live bus route and where the produce has been left is part of the cycleway and should not be used as a holding bay for produce."

A British Sugar spokesperson added: "We are aware of sugar beet awaiting collection on Old Norwich Road, and have spoken to the farmer who assures us it will be moved and sent to the Bury factory by tomorrow.

"Safety and health is at the heart of all our operations and we do remind all our growers, contractors and hauliers of the importance of respecting local communities and highways in our campaign handbook, which is issued prior to the harvest each year. We expect them to adhere to these guidelines."

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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27 comments

Avatar
Homebaker | 3 months ago
0 likes

It's not that rare in rural areas, it's certainly not the issue the newspaper says it was. This is the location:
Claydon, England
https://maps.app.goo.gl/gTq34xDra5uVsAgB7

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chaos | 3 months ago
2 likes

Tough times, let's give the farmer a break! Personally, I do not have an issue with this. If it had been filled with cars I would most likely have a different view. Again, personally, I would not be using a bike lane that has the potential to be icy due to lack of gritting, or a puncture zone due to lack of sweeping.

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NPlus1Bikelights | 3 months ago
0 likes

This farmer is making a lot of press time this week

"Permission to use the neonicotinoid on sugar beet seeds has been needed despite a vow by the industry to find an alternative by the end of 2023."

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-68025634

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Miller | 3 months ago
3 likes

The farmer involved has apologised although clearly he thinks it's a fuss over nothing. He told the East Anglian Daily Times that he "temporarily stored the produce at the roadside as his land was too wet for lorries to access."

Suffolk is a very agricultural area. There's a reason Ipswich Town FC are known as the Tractor Boys.

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john_smith | 3 months ago
2 likes

"No markings have been put up though, and no traffic goes through there – only buses and cyclists."

Excellent. Perhaps he should have been more explicit though and said "No human beings go through there--only cyclists and pedestrians."

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BIRMINGHAMisaDUMP | 3 months ago
4 likes

"No markings have been put up though, and no traffic goes through there – only buses and cyclists."

Says it all really. 

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ktache | 3 months ago
4 likes

It's piled up very neatly.

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stonojnr | 3 months ago
6 likes

Just goes to show Road.cc don't bother to read comments on their live blog. I commented on the reality of this total non story yesterday.

The road wasn't blocked, the cycleway, if you can call 10 metres of paint on an old carriageway divider that's one way only as the opposite way it just stops, a cycleway, was covered, but its the epitome of the style of crap infra we should be highlighting as wrong and nothing to be proud of.

Meanwhile Suffolk Highways refuse to deal with flooding on numerous roads & cycle lanes, an increasing number of dangerous potholes, happily allow council vehicles to park in cycle lanes or drive down cycle paths, sign off on rubbish like this the other side of the Old Norwich road LTN
https://maps.app.goo.gl/pt2K3kc95hfP8FXS8 , real issues that prevent people cycling.

But instead we waste our time & energy focussing on a total man bites dog story.

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HoarseMann replied to stonojnr | 3 months ago
1 like

I thought they'd read the comment then written the article. It's not a big issue, but it's unusual enough to be of interest. Or maybe not in Suffolk? Is there an equivalent saying like 'Normal For Norfolk'?!

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bensynnock replied to HoarseMann | 3 months ago
1 like

Standard for Suffolk?

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to stonojnr | 3 months ago
0 likes

Road.cc are getting more desperate by the day. 

But who cares as long as there's some nice controversy for everyone to bicker over. 

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Simon E replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 3 months ago
12 likes

Left_is_for_Losers wrote:

Road.cc are getting more desperate by the day. 

It will take some doing for road.cc to get as desperate as you, ye olde returning troll with your multiple accounts, multiple bans, outed so many times for spouting the same old bullshit and lies.

If only there was a website you could find some people with the same opinions - the Daily Hate Mail, the Currant Bun, perhaps - instead of all the lefty softie cyclists on road.cc.

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Left_is_for_Losers replied to Simon E | 3 months ago
0 likes

Simon E wrote:

It will take some doing for road.cc to get as desperate as you, ye olde returning troll with your multiple accounts, multiple bans, outed so many times for spouting the same old bullshit and lies.

If only there was a website you could find some people with the same opinions - the Daily Hate Mail, the Currant Bun, perhaps - instead of all the lefty softie cyclists on road.cc.

Be careful there son, you're nearly as untruthful as Rendey

Nailed it with the lefty softie cyclists though. 

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HLaB replied to Left_is_for_Losers | 3 months ago
1 like

When I saw the headline "Because a farmer has dumped hundreds of tonnes of s.." the click bait worked on me! It was a quite tame 'sugarbeet' though 

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mctrials23 | 3 months ago
6 likes

Just me that kind of read this as someone who made a bit of a cock up and then rectified it when they realised...

Doesn't seem like a bad bloke to me

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Pub bike | 3 months ago
6 likes

It is fly tipping so enforcement action should be taken - in the same way that FPNs are issued for cyclists riding on pavements.

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grOg replied to Pub bike | 3 months ago
2 likes

Fly tipping is dumping rubbish; this was temporary storage of a highly valuable farm product in an agricultural area; the farmer should have contacted the local authority, but as this was something that had been done in the past without complaint, he didn't bother; clearly, the locals using the road weren't affected and couldn't care, but nowadays with troublemakers using social media to wind people up, you get this sort of article and your comment..

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Benthic | 3 months ago
1 like

Well, we don't want to be upsetting motorists now, do we?

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Wolfcastle50 | 3 months ago
3 likes

He thought he had a sweet trick!.....I'll get me coat

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brooksby | 3 months ago
18 likes

Quote:

…no traffic goes through there – only buses and cyclists.

Erm - do you want to read through that again, Mr Latham? 

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stonojnr replied to brooksby | 3 months ago
5 likes

No he's right, no traffic uses the area that had been temporarily blocked. All the motor vehicles are forced to stay right, and no one who cycles that route is daft enough to follow 10metres worth of paint that forces you to bunnyhop onto an old carriageway divider and then veer left over a surface that hasnt been touched for 40years.

Suffolk highways themselves, or their contractors have, have used it to store chippings for road sealing work nearby.

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brooksby replied to stonojnr | 3 months ago
9 likes

It was the "only buses and cyclists" that I was taking issue with.  Aren't they traffic too (and especially if the roadway has been designated as just for them)?

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stonojnr replied to brooksby | 3 months ago
3 likes

its only buses and cyclists who use the road, because it becomes a dead end for anything else as you get nearer to Ipswich, till they build aload more houses up there, but no traffic be that bus, bike, car or anything else goes through the specific bit, he calls it a layby but it isnt really, theyd left the beet on.

anway heres a picture of Suffolk Highways standing in the exact same spot beside the 500 tonne turbine & machinery to haul it they left parked there for a whole week.

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Hamster replied to stonojnr | 3 months ago
0 likes

All the wagons being loaded are on the live carriageway. After 2 days half the pile is still there.

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Hamster replied to brooksby | 3 months ago
0 likes

And all the construction deliveries for the new estate at the top of the hill. The man is a halfwit.

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lesterama | 3 months ago
3 likes

Good to know that safety and health are at the heart of British Sugar's operations. No more 25 per cent sugar in your diet now, chaps! Mind that diabetes!

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Gimpl replied to lesterama | 3 months ago
0 likes

They're also the largest exporter of cannabis in the world too! The whole thing stinks 😂

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