Protest as A7 is swept clean of winter salt

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Fountainhall resident Dawn Brown says she is ready to risk arrest in order to block rail construction vehicles from cleaning salt off the A7.

Self-employed Mrs Brown, 54, claims police have warned her she could be arrested if she repeats her actions of last week, when she stood in front of a BAM Nuttall construction vehicle, preventing it from cleaning the A7 at Fountainhall of dirt left by those working on the new Borders rail link.

“Council gritters are out between 6.45am and 7.15am. Then BAM’s washers and road sweepers leave about 7.45am and when cleaning away dirt, they’re also cleaning off salt that’s only just been laid,” Mrs Brown said.

“Taxpayers’ money is being wasted and it’s dangerous in freezing conditions to cover roads in water.

“That’s why last Thursday I stood in front of a washing vehicle. I apologised to the driver, but it seems you can’t get anything done without publicity.

“But police said if I did it again I could be arrested for breach of the peace.”

Scottish Borders Council says BAM Nuttall is legally obliged to ensure roads are kept clean during operations.

“The council and BAM are co-ordinating salting and sweeping operations during winter months to ensure the effectiveness of salt spreading is not compromised,” said a spokesman.

And Network Rail says it is working towards a solution to keep roads clear without impacting gritting operations.

Local councillor Sandy Aitchison appreciates problems exist: “But we don’t want anything to slow this job. We want it finished.”

But Mrs Brown retorted: “Is it going to take a school bus crashing before something is done? That’s why I am prepared to do it again, even if it means being arrested.”