Scottish Borders Council is to begin a clean-up operation today, August 17, to tackle what is described as a serious fly-tipping incident in Hawick.
The clean-up, requiring the deployment of a specialist team, comes following a public outcry over mess left on the banks of the River Teviot, at Lower Mansfield Road, thought to include human faeces,
It was announced at Tuesday night’s meeting of the council’s Teviot and Liddesdale locality committee that a clean-up of the Mansfield site will commence this afternoon.
Neil Hastie, the council’s estates manager, said: “We are arranging to have both the Mansfield and Burnfoot sites tidied up following an encampment by travellers.
“Unfortunately, the earliest resources could be pulled together to do what we are required to do is Thursday at 1pm.
“Our cleaning services, and our neighbourhood services, together with a member of the estates team, will be on site to firstly carry out a body spill uplift and thereafter to record any evidence that can assist us and the police to identify who the individuals are that have left the mess.
“The police need to gather the evidence which may assist us in respect of any legal proceedings which may arise as the result of the occupation of the sites both in Hawick and in Selkirk.
“The rubbish will then be removed from the site by neighbourhood services.
“This will not be a straightforward process, but we are making all efforts to tidy up both sides as soon possible.”
Hawick and Denholm councillor Stuart Marshall, chairman of the committee, said: “The clean-up will be huge. It will be expensive, and it will involve specialist teams to deal with the public health and contamination issues.”
A council spokesman added: “We can confirm there was a serious fly-tipping incident in Lower Mansfield Road in Hawick.
“The council is working with Police Scotland to gather evidence to detect the offenders.
“We are in the process of organising a clean-up of the site which will involve a specialist team, and the final costs of this clean-up are not yet known.
“We are exploring options for the recovery of the clean-up costs.”
The site was occupied without permission by a group of travellers on Wednesday, July 12, but have now returned to Selkirk, where they were located prior to staying at Hawick.
Tuesday night’s meeting also heard from council senior policy adviser Douglas Scott. He said: “We have someone who makes contact with every unauthorised site that we have, and we talk to the community and find out what their issues are and what their needs are, and we encourage them to move on.
“That process is nationally recognised.
“The travelling community is like any other community, it is a broad community, and in the last six or so years, the vast majority of cases, we have been able to manage them quite effectively.
“With this group, we didn’t receive any complaints at all until very recently, but once we had received the complaint, it would have been investigated.”