Council chief hits back over snow clearing snub story

COUNCIL Leader David Parker has strongly denied claims that local contractors were left out in the cold during the recent show-clearing operation.

Scottish Borders Council came under fire recently from local businesses and councillors for using companies from Jedburgh, Kelso and Duns to clear the snow. But Councillor Parker stressed that the appointments were made through the Borders Machinery Ring and revealed this involved hiring several Hawick individuals and businesses.

He told the Hawick News: “We try to use local contractors in the local area where possible and we use contractors who we know need minimal supervision and who have worked for us successfully at snow clearing in the past.

“We use the Borders Machinery Ring to directly procure contractors on our behalf as they are a good source of local quality contract provision.”

In terms of the Hawick provision, the following was used: Murray Builder, 1 x JCB; Harkins from Jedburgh 1 x JCB (operated by a Hawick driver); Clamp and Pringle, 1 x tractor and trailer, 2 x mini diggers, 2 x labourers; Keith Borthwick, 1 x JCB , 1 x mini digger, 1 x tractor and trailer; Drew Glendinning, 1 x tractor and trailer; James Swinton and Co., 1 x loadall and labour; Dawson Plant Hire (from Cavers), 4 x JCB and 2 x large diggers. In addition, the council has had Dawson JCB working all over the Borders; Redpath 1 x 8-wheeler lorry; D. Cranston 1 x JCB; Rodger Gillespie, (who was working in the valleys and Selkirk), 1 x mini digger and 1 x tractor and trailer.

Councillor Parker said there was only one haulier with a tipper in Hawick which was hired in, which is why hauliers from Kelso, Lauder and Duns were required.

All of the tractors and trailers used were sourced locally via Borders Machinery Ring and as well as the above resources in addition SBC had: Billy Rae, 1 x tractor and plough; John Hepburn, 1 x telehandler; Wilson Scott, 1 x telehandler.

Councillor Parker added: “We can’t use the resources of every firm who offer but just because we didn’t use them this time, it doesn’t mean that they won’t get the chance in the future.”