Oxton residents welcomed a new state-of-the-art community resilience vehicle last week – just in time to tackle the ‘weather bomb’ blizzard.
Oxton Community Council successfully applied to SSE’s Toddleburn wind farm community fund for a grant of £11,500 towards the specialist vehicle and related equipment as part of the village’s wider ‘community resilience’ plan.
The John Deere 1026R sub-compact tractor, which boasts a snow blade and gritter, allowed volunteers to clear snow around the local primary school and grit the main village paths during Thursday’s snow storm, improving safety for residents.
With most homes in the area at least 700 feet above sea level, Oxton experiences some of the harshest winter weather conditions in the Borders.
This can cause severe disruption for local people, particularly school children and the elderly, and creates a major safety risk during periods of heavy snowfall.
A team of 13 volunteers has been set up to use the tractor, with training given from a qualified instructor who lives in the village.
The path and snow clearing carried out by the Oxton resilience team will support the work of Scottish Borders Council in minimising disruption caused by snow and ice at this time of year.
Paul Docherty, of Oxton Community Council, told us: “The equipment was in action within a few days of delivery and the volunteers have been very busy clearing the snow and gritting the pavements – in fact they cleared and gritted around the school three times last week to allow it to open on time.
“Having this equipment means that we are better able to look after ourselves when bad weather hits and we’ll be able to help residents get in and out of the village safely.”
Ciara Wilson, community funds manager at SSE, added: “As an energy company, SSE is keenly aware of the importance of community resilience during storm situations. It’s great to see a small community like Oxton rise to the challenge and take action to prevent the kind of safety issues that can result from heavy snowfall.”