Agreement to spend £15.6m on roads and bridges in the Borders did not impress one Duns woman present at Scottish Borders Council’s annual budget meeting last week.
Michelle Burns-Greig presented council leader David Parker with an invoice for £365 as “a contribution to cost of above-normal wear and tear on car due to unacceptable and increasing deterioration in condition of the roads used in the Scottish Borders Council area, where I live,” said Ms Burns-Greig in the invoive.
Her invoice went on: “This includes potholes, sunken and raised drains (rarely ever functioning), elephant pits at side of road, uneven, broken sides of roads, uneven, rough road surfaces, worn-out lining, illegible signs, standing and crossing water and many other defects which also increase fuel consumption.
“All roads – A, B, and C roads – are substandard, too narrow and not acceptable in 2017.
“Many are now unfit for purpose and avoided by me, causing diversions and extra travel.
“The Borders must have the worst roads in Europe, on which I drive regularly, including former Eastern Bloc European countries.
“Please note that any damage caused by specific faults will be fully claimed over and above this sum.”
Explaining why she chose to present the invoice on the day the council set its 2017-18 budget, Ms Burns-Greig said: “I want to use this letter to bring this topic to the attention of a wider audience in a positive way.
“If we go on as at present, in five years, there will be a large number of roads that frankly will have to be shut off on safety grounds. As it is, even now I find many that are just not fit for purpose.
“The damage done to vehicles if they hit a pothole, or go into an elephant trap at the side of the road can run into thousands of pounds, money then paid by the council to the owner, but money that is then not available to fix the initial cause of the defect.
“At best, the council seems to be papering over the cracks, but not correcting the cause of the defect. Time and time again, the same pothole reappears because the cause was not dealt with. This, in my opinion, is a waste of money.
“Roads are the arteries of the Borders. They link the population to jobs, education, health and so on. The sooner this is recognised the better.”