AA survey names region as the cleanest in the UK

THE Borders is the cleanest ‘street area’ in the whole of the UK according to the results of a survey carried out by close to 2000 AA members.

The region, which was grouped with Berwick for the study carried out in the autumn, fared well when it came to levels of litter, dog fouling and uneven footpaths.

The street survey, the first of its kind, was carried out across the country by 1,912 AA members nationwide who recorded the frequency of 12 categories of street blight, within two miles of their homes.

These covered: potholes, road repairs, damaged kerbs, inspection covers, road works, uneven payments, blocked drains, badly-parked vehicles, litter, dogs’ mess, bad signs and worn road markings. AA Streetwatch members in all 118 post code areas of the UK returned surveys.

And results would suggest that AA members in the Borders don’t have many gripes as in the overall standings it finished in the top three alongside Taunton and Ipswich as well as being singled out as the cleanest place.

Rankings went from 1 (fewest) to 7 (most) and the Borders’ results were: potholes (3), kerb stones (2), inspection covers (2), road works (1), uneven footpaths (1, fewest in UK), blocked drains (5), road signs (2), road markings (2), parked vehicles (2), litter (1, rated third fewest in UK), dog fouling (rated fewest in UK).

Honorary Provost of Eyemouth and chair of the Town Council, Douglas Younger said he wasn’t shocked the Borders fared so well as “every town you go through is lovely,” adding that he hoped potential cutbacks wouldn’t prompt a slip in standards.

He commented: “In Eyemouth whenever we have a problem Scottish Borders Council react quickly.

“Dog fouling used to be bad but thanks to a campaign and wardens keeping a track of the situation we seem to have turned the tide.

“With us being quite a busy town, particularly in the summer, litter is still a problem and at the moment the Town Council is looking into getting some more bins for the town, possibly a new design.

“It’s fantastic to see the Borders do so well in this survey and I just hope any financial cuts don’t jeopardise our position for the future.”

Andrew Mitchell, chair of Duns Community Council, echoed these sentiments saying it was crucial that residents themselves play their part.

“It is very pleasing to have the Borders recognised in this way,” he said.

“It bears out various comments I have had about the look of Duns. We will now all have to continue to play our parts in keeping the streets of Duns looking good, to help to retain this national position.”

While pleased that the region ranked so favourably in the AA survey, chair of Coldstream Community Council, Martin Brims said that some of the issues the area was praised for were still a problem in Coldstream.

He commented: “On a positive note, it is excellent that the Berwick and Borders area comes out with flying colours when viewed in the wider context of the UK.

“However, as a community council, we focus our attention on our immediate area, and from what our community tells us dog fouling remains a serious concern. In addition, we are actively progressing issues of uneven surfaces with Scottish Borders Council.

“Therefore, our experience does not entirely concur with the survey results. Consequently, I would be reluctant to assess the effectiveness of SBC’s policies in relation to uneven surfaces and dog fouling on the outcome of a single “broad brush” survey.”

Councillor Jim Fullarton, executive member for roads and infrastructure added that “significant investment” was required in Borders roads to cope with the impact of winter damage.