I was one of hundreds of cyclists who took part in the Wooler Wheel Challenge Event recently run on roads on both sides of the border.
The event was non-competitive, but offered a great challenge to those participating as they could choose to ride for either 30km, 60km, 100km or 170km.
I took on the 170km course which went through some of the most beautiful countryside that the Borders has to offer – and it was all for a good cause, for many of those participating were raising money for Radio Borders Cash for Kids, which provides help to disabled and disadvantaged children around the Borders and north Northumberland.
Official council figures show that nearly 1,000 tonnes of garden waste was recycled last year in the Cheviot area prior to the cancellation of the green waste collection service.
Of the 990 tonnes recycled, 690 came from Kelso.
These figures highlight just how much the service was used by Borderers before the council’s decision to scrap it. Instead, residents are now expected to take their garden waste to the nearest recycling centre in their cars, something which I believe is unrealistic considering the amounts involved.
Ever since the local authority announced that it was scrapping the service, I have been inundated with calls and letters from constituents to express their anger.
It was a highly-valued service that was a huge benefit to many people throughout the Borders, and it beggars belief that the SNP-led administration saw fit to get rid of it.
There is a distinct possibility that we might start to see more illegal dumping at the side of our roads this summer as Borderers struggle to deal with this excess garden waste.
ASSISTED AREA STATUS
The UK Government announced recently that several parts of the Borders were going to be given regional aid to help encourage business growth.
However, the proposals excluded towns such as Jedburgh, Kelso, Eyemouth and Duns, and local businesses have been voicing their disapproval at not being included. It means they will now be at a disadvantage compared to other areas of the Borders that are receiving assistance.
Receiving Assisted Area Status can provide a huge boost to the economy of the regions which receive it, helping businesses to invest in local towns and create jobs.
However, it is clear from these proposals that vast areas of the region have been left out – and I would like to know what the thinking was, if any, behind this
I can see no good reason why important towns such as Kelso and Jedburgh have been left out, and would hope to see the situation amended by the Business Secretary in the future.