Ditching traffic warden simply not workable, says Lamont

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Hawick MSP John Lamont fears police plans to scrap the town’s sole traffic warden are “unworkable” and will lead to further traffic misery for townsfolk.

Responding to the news that Hawick’s only traffic warden is set to be scrapped at the end of December, Mr Lamont (pictured) said: “If traffic regulations cease to be enforced it won’t be long until we see people breaking these rules. Local residents will start to suffer from a lack of parking spaces and increased congestion.”

Mr Lamont added: “No matter how much money it would save, removing traffic wardens from Hawick would simply not be workable in the long term. I hope any plan to remove this service is reconsidered.”

And Scottish Borders Council (SBC) is calling on Police Scotland to delay the cuts for a period of two years until 2016.

Police Scotland is looking to SBC to provide decriminalised parking enforcement, but in a report to councillors, due to be considered yesterday (Thursday), SBC highlights the “potentially significant implications” for staffing and resources.

The report states: “While fully recognising the significant financial pressure on Police Scotland, it is unlikely that SBC would be in a position to introduce decriminalised parking enforcement on an efficient and effective basis for two to three years.

“As such there is considerable concern over the proposal for the withdrawal of the role of traffic wardens.”

However, the report continues: “It is considered that the withdrawal of the role of traffic wardens by Police Scotland on a national basis is now somewhat inevitable. It is hoped, however, that their withdrawal locally can be delayed so that it is carried out in tandem with the decriminalisation of parking legislation and other minor road-traffic offences.”

Before a council can apply to Transport Scotland for an application to operate decriminalised parking enforcement, it has to demonstrate a “break-even position” and in a many rural areas this may not be possible.

The report adds that SBC may be “unable to provide a positive business case for the introduction of decriminalised parking enforcement” and goes on to highlight fears over significant parking problems which could have an “adverse economic impact on town centres and lead to traffic congestion”.