Kevin Buckle: It looks like Edinburgh Council might really dig Road Mole

Could the local authority be about to get something right? Kevin Buckle explores...

Saturday, 30th November 2019, 12:18 pm
Updated Saturday, 30th November 2019, 12:34 pm
Given Road Mole is a small family business, albeit a very experienced one, it is amazing what they have achieved

With a substantial increase in road maintenance spending to tackle Scotland’s £3 billion repairs backlog being urged last week by MSPs I wondered what had happened to Road Mole, who have featured in this column before and who it would seem have come up with a group of machines to successfully tackle pothole problems of all sizes and description.

Councillor Hal Osler responded to my tweet that surely it was time to bring in Road Mole by wondering if there was a pavement equivalent and Road Mole, who rarely appear on Twitter, replied that indeed there was.

Word on the street (or should that be the road) was that after meetings with Edinburgh Council things had gone well but that was some time ago so I thought I would give them a call to see how things were going.

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Given Road Mole is a small family business, albeit a very experienced one, it is amazing what they have achieved. I knew they had met with several councils and received much positivity but was also aware how long these decisions can sometimes take.

Hopefully, though, it appears all is well. The machines are not cheap at £50K to £250K so if they are to be leased to councils with all the appropriate maintenance and training firm contracts are needed and while I felt it was unfair to push too hard on how close councils were to signing up they did say talks with Edinburgh Council were progressing very well. Of course the more councils sign up the more others will follow suit so it will be a rare feather in Edinburgh’s cap if they are seen to lead the way on solving an issue so bad throughout the UK it has been included in general election pledges.

Given the battering the council administration has taken recently it would certainly make a nice change to have some good news and positive things to say and who knows next on their list they may even be solving the issues surrounding collecting the rubbish – something I have to say in all my time out in West Lothian has never been a problem and surely can’t be impossible to get right.

Make a date

This year’s Lost Edinburgh calendar features fascinating scenes around Edinburgh from the late Victorian and early Edwardian era. Popular both in this paper and on social media David McLean of Lost Edinburgh regularly offers great insights into old pictures of Edinburgh.

A bargain at £10, you can order directly from the Lost Edinburgh website – – or you can actually pick up a copy from Avalanche in Waverley Mall. A limited edition of 500, you will struggle to find a better stocking filler!

Word up

Another popular account on twitter is @HaggardHawks. The bio says strange words, etymology and language facts but the account is far more interesting than that sounds.

Last week it featured the Icelandic word GLUGGAVEÐUR, which means “weather that looks appealing from inside, but would be unpleasant to be outside in”. Its literal meaning is “window-weather”. I’ll be trying to get that into my column in the near future.

I’m certainly hoping that the Road Mole contract to solve Edinburgh’s pothole crisis is OPERARIOUS – ie completed by workers, or actually carried out as opposed to being merely mooted or proposed.