BROKEN springs are the main cause of vehicles failing MOT tests in the Borders, it has been revealed.
It was East Berwickshire councillor Jim Fullerton who raised the issue, lodging a question for last week’s October meeting of the full Scottish Borders Council.
Mr Fullerton said the high incidence of broken springs would indicate that potholes on local Borders roads were to blame and asked the local authority’s Executive Member for Roads and Infrastructure, Gordon Edgar (Selkirkshire, Ind), what he intended doing about the situation.
It was an inspection of local MOT centres in the region by the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency which revealed the large number of broken springs – the highest in Scotland, according to Mr Fullerton, who was the elected member holding the roads portfolio under the previous administration.
Replying, Mr Edgar said it would indeed be worrying if the Borders figure for failed MOT tests due to broken springs was the highest across all of Scotland’s regions.
“The council, as the roads authority under the Roads (Scotland) Act 1984, manages and maintains all such roads in their area as entered onto the list of public roads,” explained Mr Edgar.
“Roads are the subject of regular inspection and defects are noted. If a defect is considered of significance, termed a Category 1 Defect, it is reported and the defect rectification process enabled.
“In the case of a significant pothole this could involve the filling with temporary repair material until a full, longer life solution can be implemented. I am sure that Councillor Fullarton will be aware that the Executive on November 20 2011, approved an additional £650,000 spend on roads and street lighting, with £300,000 allocated to road patching and overlays.”
And to laughs from the assembled councillors in the chamber, Mr Edgar quipped: “The portfolio holder therefore intends to continue with the fine work his predecessor did.”
However, Mr Fullerton warned that the local authority faced inflation of 20 per cent in the costs of roads materials in the near future: “This means we are facing a halving of our roads budget in four years’ time if something is not done about it,” he commented.
Responding, Mr Edgar said that during the budget process, the Environment and Infrastructure Department was always pressing to ensure there were adequate funds made available to maintain roads in the Borders.
Back in January, it was reported that damage caused to vehicles by potholes on Borders roads had resulted in compensation payouts totalling more than £14,000 since 2007.
Across Scotland, payouts to drivers for vehicle damage caused by potholes have cost local authorities more than £1.7 million over the last five years.
And following the 2010-11 winter, SBC estimated that the repair bill to the region’s roads would be £8million, despite them spending £275,000 on temporary repairs during the winter.