Salt poured into taxpayer wounds

Council staff and those constructing the new Borders rail link this week found themselves between a rock and a hard place – or in this instance, between rock salt and a hard case.

The former is the salt that is being cleaned from the A7 by rail project vehicles as an accidental side effect of legal obligations to keep the road free from dirt left by the construction work.

The latter is Mrs Dawn Brown, resident of Fountainhall, who says she is quite prepared to be arrested by the police if that is what it takes to highlight what she regards as the waste of public cash and a dangerous situation developing on the A7 road, resulting from salt spread by council gritters being swept away by rail project staff.

Both Scottish Borders Council and Network Rail say they are working on solutions to ensure this does not happen during the coming winter months.

Given this week’s plummeting temperatures and snow forecasts, we think winter may already be arriving.

The problem facing both organisations is they each have obligations to keep the roads clear and safe – SBC from ice and snow and Network Rail from dirt left by its vehicles.

How you can remove the dirt without also scraping away salt could pose a technical challenge, but one which needs resolving before Jack Frost buys his ticket to the Borders.