A policy which needs reviewing

Your account last week of the intransigence of Scottish Borders Council to subsidise senior school transport within a three-mile radius is profoundly worrying.

Given the present state of Borders roads, it is worth asking whether the assessment by an official that the route (Sprouston-Kelso) is safe for youngsters to walk on takes into account the increased hazards, even on rural roads, compared to a few years ago, when the same issue bedevilled other residents here.

Our road (A701) has no pavement, uncut verges with unseen ankle-twisters lurking in long grass or daffodils, no road markings (apparently for reasons of safety – the road is too narrow for double-white lines, even over a hidden dip where motorists have died) and traffic which regularly exceeds 60mph and 30 tonnes.

Potholes and overtaking force traffic to swerve. There is no lighting and nowhere to walk other than on the carriageway.

On one occasion a roads department official insisted on wearing a high-visibility jacket when walking on the only length of pavement because of the risk he perceived from passing lorries.

Yet primary school children are now expected to walk almost a mile to school along that road, summer or winter, light or dark, rain or shine, in ice or snow.

Some years ago when our child was at the school he was given a concessionary pass for the school bus, provided that there were unused seats available. This concession was later removed.

The policy as described in your newspaper requiring payment for school transport (which implies that there are spare seats on the bus) needs reviewing, and assessments of safety to be made and agreed with parents in all weathers and at all times of the year.

Jim Pratt

West Linton