TWO Tweeddale councillors have cut the local authority down to size over its handling of garden waste collections in rural areas of the Borders.
Bill Herd and Gavin Logan believe the service will not be extended to Clovenfords or Gattonside this year as promised at a scrutiny meeting in 2011, after councillor and executive member Jim Fullarton said a full and detailed report on extending the scheme was required before it is rolled out.
It means these villages, and also Stow, will continue to miss out on their green waste being collected.
Mr Herd, who represents Tweeddale East, described the lack of waste collections in these areas as a “discrimination”.
He told us: “Our Border towns get a green bin collection for garden waste every fortnight but this does not extend to villages which have been categorised as rural communities.
“Galashiels gets a green bin collection, yet similar houses in Clovenfords, who are further away from the refuse facility, have to make personal trips with their garden waste.
“Householders either waste petrol taking their garden rubbish to Langlee tip or the garden waste gets thrown in with the general household rubbish and buried in landfill – in both cases we are not doing the environment any good.
“This discrimination was raised by the Clovenfords community last year and there was an understanding that this village would be considered as a top priority for inclusion in the scheme in 2012. Now that the budgets have been established, I am urgently trying to clarify if promises made last year will be fulfilled this year.”
Fellow Tweeddale East member, Councillor Logan, who raised the question at Newtown St Boswells last month, claimed both Clovenfords and Gattonside had been promised garden waste collections for the last two years.
“We can be in no doubt from the response that there is not much appetite to start collection any time soon,” he added.
“I very much suspect that if I had not asked the question at January’s council meeting the undertaking that collection would start this year would have quietly forgotten. I don’t take any comfort in the fact that this issue is going to be considered by the executive later in the year.
“I will not let the matter drop and will continue to press for this long overdue service for Clovenfords to get under way.”
Clovenfords Community Council chairman Richard Howard added: “This news is extremely disappointing, especially when you consider that we are so near Galashiels and Walkerburn who have had garden waste collections since the scheme began.
“The Clovenfords residents were outraged when the service was not started as promised last year. Now we find that it is unlikely to start this year – this is not acceptable.”
Mr Herd queried: “Have the Lib-Dem/Tory coalition who runs Scottish Borders Council completely forgotten about its undertakings to examine this discrimination against many rural communities including Stow and Clovenfords?”