Councils to share resources in bid to speed repairs

Workers dig up a road in the Capital. Picture: Esme Allen
Workers dig up a road in the Capital. Picture: Esme Allen
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ROADS will be better maintained and repaired more quickly under collaboration plans unveiled by transport leaders in the Capital and surrounding regions.

Council bosses in Edinburgh, the Lothians, Scottish Borders and Fife want to share staff, resources and expertise in a bid to ensure work is carried out efficiently and cost-effectively.

Road works, street lighting and maintenance contracts are among areas set for a boost if the move is approved.

Proposals for a “shadow joint committee” – made up of representatives from each of the participating authorities – have been drawn up, with city leaders stressing that there will be no staff cuts or redundancies as a result.

Figures in the motoring industry have welcomed the planned tie-up.

They said there was a good chance that the positive impact seen in other UK regions which have introduced it would be enjoyed across the Lothians.

And they suggested the plan would make it easier for transport departments in south-east Scotland to finance and deliver major road-building schemes.

Neil Greig, director of policy for the Institute of Advanced Motorists, said: “The ultimate success of something like this should be that the average driver sees an improvement – it should be easier to report faults, there should be fewer faults, fewer pot holes, and any faults fixed quickly.

“It’s very much seen as the way forward for local authorities to combine resources, and I’m pleased that the Edinburgh, Lothian, Fife and Scottish Border councils are getting together.”

Mr Greig said that, while Edinburgh as a capital city may have more financial firepower, drivers here would benefit from expertise built up in smaller regions, where roads maintenance performance has often been superior.

“Edinburgh has not had a great record in recent years, whereas West Lothian does and has won awards,” he said.

“If you add it all up, you have the potential for a group of organisations to pool their resources and improve services for everybody.

“However, it’s absolutely vital that any savings generated through this are kept within the roads maintenance budget.”

City chiefs said the proposed measure would boost roads across the Capital and south-east Scotland.

Councillor Lesley Hinds, transport leader, said: “Collaborating with Borders, Lothians and Fife Councils on roads services would allow us to improve resilience and sustainability by sharing expertise, standardising processes and eliminating the duplication of joint resources.

“This would build on existing and successful partnership working between the councils for road maintenance.”

johnpaul.holden@edinburghnews.com