South Scotland

Slippery school route fears halt Borders gritting switch

Kids on snowy road Image copyright PA Media

Scottish Borders Council has put on hold a change to its winter maintenance plans amid fears schoolchildren would be left walking on icy pavements.

It was considering starting footpath treatment later than the current 06:00 in a bid to save £82,000-a-year.

However, a committee heard that would mean some priority routes might not be gritted by 08:30.

Council leader Shona Haslam said they needed another report to give them more options for a way forward.

Councillors were told that a number of other local authorities provided only a Monday to Friday service and aimed to treat routes before 09:00 or between 08:00 and 15:30 as resources allowed.

'State of pavements'

They heard that carrying out the gritting during normal working hours would deliver significant savings.

However, councillors expressed concern about the change.

Euan Jardine, who represents Galashiels, said: "I'm dead against this. I've already had comments from residents about the state of pavements leading into the winter. 

"We can't tell people to think of the environment and then make people have to take the car to work because the pavements aren't suitable.

"I don't think possibly making a saving is worth it."

'Operational issue'

Ms Haslam said she was also aware of how big a concern it was for the public.

"I understand it's an operational issue but people have told us they are slipping and things like that," she said.

"We need another report giving us more options about what we can do."

Chief executive Tracey Logan promised councillors that officers would return with a more detailed paper.

However, she added: "We are looking at making significant savings and just keeping things the way they are is not something we can do."

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