COUNCILLORS have agreed to support an environmental project which will centre around the Tweed.
‘Pollinators Along the Tweed’, a project being run by the Tweed Forum as part of the Destination Tweed programme, would see nature corridors on either side of the river created with wildflowers and grassland.
At a Scottish Borders Council (SBC) executive committee meeting last week (August 17), councillors discussed a report which encouraged members to support the proposals. It includes signing up to a 10-year management plan and looking into funding streams to maintain the roll-out of the project across the region.
“This is a brilliant project and a fantastic initiative,” said independent Tweeddale East councillor Robin Tatler.
Destination Tweed, aims to highlight the Tweed as a key visitor attraction, and will cover 100 miles of the river from Moffat to Berwick-upon-Tweed.
The project includes a trail along the river which will encourage visitors to take in the sites and attractions of Borders towns.
Although councillors agreed to approve the council’s involvement in the Pollinators Along the Tweed project, some also raised concerns over grass cutting policies.
“We’ve experienced the kick backs from grass cutting changes in the past,” said Simon Mountford, of the Conservatives, “and I’m not saying the community won’t support it [project], I’m sure they will in time, if we go about a proper communication exercise, if we take the time to explain this – and it will take time because people are resistant to change (that’s human nature).
“Therefore, a considerable effort needs to be invested in getting the message across and getting the ambitions of the project across so people understand that.”
Selkirk councillor Gordon Edgar (independent) also offered his support for the project, but added his concerns regarding the funding of the 10-year project.
Mr Edgar said: “I would ask that the maintenance of the project is assured before staffing. As long as the revenue funding is there I think it’s an exciting project and fully support [it].”
John Curry, who is the service director for assets and infrastructure at the council, said: “We’ll be trying to get clarity on the scale of cost and a forward plan for that for the next 10 years and bring that back as an update before the project is implemented and hopefully once we’ve got approval just so you’re clear in the budget setting process.”
As part of the project there will also be opportunities to engage with local communities to provide education on the importance of rewilding areas, and how they benefit the area.
Mr Curry told the meeting that such activities will be outlined in a report to be released to the council at a later date. Voicing his support of the project, Galashiels councillor Sandy Aitchison (independent) said: “We have problems with grass cutting still ongoing, but we cannot continue to cut [grass] to bowling green lengths.
“There is a generational difference here, young people accept this climate thing far better than people of my generation who have grown up and been used to glorious bedding plants that bees can’t get into. Sometimes the best bits of nature are around brambles, nettles and all these plants that we have tried to get rid of.”