Morag takes action on dog dirt problem

Harry and Morag Grant of Hornshole in Hawick where they have left a bin out for passer-bys to use.
Harry and Morag Grant of Hornshole in Hawick where they have left a bin out for passer-bys to use.

A Hornshole resident has been praised for her generosity after taking matters into her own hands when Scottish Borders Council refused to install a bin on a popular route for dog-walkers.

It was six years ago that Morag Grant first asked the council to provide a bin at the entrance to the walkway west of Hornshole Bridge.

After the council refused to place a bin at the spot, the art and design student, currently in her second year at Borders College in Galashiels, resorted to purchasing and installing one herself.

It will now also be maintained by her, along with her partner, Andy Irving, 56.

Morag, 46, said: “We didn’t manage to get any help from the council, so we just thought it was better that we take it on ourselves and put the bin in ourselves.

“We have a wheelie bin at the gate of our house, and we are constantly having issues with people putting poo-bags in there, and just last week we even had a barbecue thrown in it.”

Morag spent more than £40 of her own money on the bin and is dedicating her time to emptying its contents on a regular basis, as well as carrying out litter-picks along the route.

She said: “Along with our eight-year-old son Harry, we have been carrying out regular litter-picks over recent years, and we do pick up an awful lot of rubbish, so I just thought it would be better to just go and buy a bin.

“I have asked the council for extra blue bin-bags, and then all I need to do is lift it out and between me and my husband, we can empty it into our own bin.”

Despite being part of the popular Borders Abbeys Way route, she claims that the area has become a hot spot for dog fouling, a long-standing source of complaints for the council, as well as litter.

Morag added: “It’s awful.There are bottles, plastic packaging, you name it, all along the bank.

“The problem is really litter in general around our area.

“Scottish Borders Council has however, helped us with a lot of other things.”

Stuart Marshall, the town’s honorary provost and a councillor for Hawick and Denholm, has praised her efforts.

He said: “This level of action by a member of the public just reiterates what a problem we have with both litter and dog fouling in our area.

“There have been four fixed-penalty notices issued in the Teviot and Liddesdale area since July 2016, which is absolutely disgraceful and clearly demonstrates that the council’s current dog-fouling strategy is not working .

“I take my hat off to this resident who has so generously purchased a bin and is going to look after it herself.”

Watson McAteer, a fellow councillor for Hawick and Denholm, echoed those concerns.

He said: “It is alarming that a local resident is having to self-fund a dog waste bin on a Teviot-side walk at Hornshole apparently because the council has rejected a plea for such a facility.

“While I not been directly involved in this matter, I have asked council officers to reconsider any previous decision and to see what they can do to support this initiative.

“This is a popular route for locals and visitors, and we must do all we can to support walkers and the requirements of responsible dog owners.”

However, a Scouncil spokesperson responded: “Unfortunately, we do not have the resources to regularly empty a bin at Hornshole.

“The council judges each request for a bin on an individual basis.”

Morag now hopes that people passing along the route make regular use of the bin.

Under the 2003 Dog Fouling (Scotland) Act, anyone who does not immediately clean-up fouling by a dog is committing an offence.