FEARS have been expressed there will be an rash of fly-tipping incidents in the Kelso area once the special ‘Saturday lift’ bin lorry service in Borders ceases at the end of this month.
Members of Kelso Community Council, meeting this week, heard that Saturday, March 30, will be the final uplift.
The service has seen the vehicles and their crews stationed for several hours, on certain Saturdays each month, in Newcastleton, Jedburgh and Lauder, as well as Kelso.
It has allowed householders to dispose of bulkier items, including furniture and electrical goods, without having to transport them a considerable distance to local authority dumps and recycling centres.
And such has been the popularity of the service in Kelso, that its Knowes car park – where the monthly bin lorry stations itself – often sees vehicles snaking their way right round the car park and out onto several nearby streets.
But the service is being axed as part of measures by Scottish Borders Council to make savings for future years.
The local authority has said there will be alternative disposal options available, including the council’s six community recycling centres, where household waste is accepted free of charge, or via the chargeable special uplift service.
But the end of the monthly service will leave residents in the Kelso area with nothing except the option of a 40-mile round trip to the nearest recycling centre, or coughing up the £25 charge to have items taken away.
And the decision was again slammed by local Scottish Borders councillor Tom Weatherston (Kelso & District, Con).
“There has already been a couch dumped along Spylaw Road – that will be the start of problems if this service goes,” Mr Weatherston told the community council on Tuesday night.
“This has been a large issue for me on my travels around Kelso. In fact, I’ve never had such a response to an issue in all the time since I first became a councillor.
“There’s a lot of the Kelso public feeling very badly let down over this.”
His fellow local Scottish Borders councillor, Alec Nicol, suggested the community council should issue an invitation to Rob Dickson, the local authority’s director of environment and infrastructure, to attend a future meeting: “And let the people of Kelso know what the plans are.”
Mr Nicol added that part of the difficulty experienced by the council was that the Scottish Government kept “changing the goalposts” when it came to recycling.
The community council also heard from community councillor Dean Weatherston, who described how his 79-year-old grandfather had been informed he was responsible for getting an unwanted sofa down a cul-de-sac and out to the main street if he wanted it collected by the council.
Mr Weatherson (Tom) explained there was a service available to help with such problems. But Mr Weatherston (Dean) replied: “He was not informed of that by the council contact centre – it was never mentioned.”
Community council vice-chairman John Bassett described charging people for such an uplift service as “really disgusting.”
On a related issue, Mr Weatherston (Tom) also told councillors it appeared households would be receiving another waste bin in 2015 – for the disposal of foodstuffs – to go with the existing ones for household rubbish and items for recycling.
“If I’m reading the legislation right, then this will be another large expense for councils,” he said.
z The next Kelso Community Council meeting will be on April 9 in the Town Hall.