A PUSH to decriminalise parking regulations across the Borders is winning support.

Since traffic wardens were pulled from town centres five years ago in a cost-cutting exercise by the police, parking pests have become a major issue in almost every community.

Despite Scottish Borders Council carrying out several reviews in the past no application to the government for decriminalisation - which would give the local authority similar powers to Edinburgh and other areas of Scotland - has ever been made.

But now a drive by roads councillor Gordon Edgar to bring in local authority wardens is winning favour.

This week the four members of council's Independent Group have offered their support.

Group leader, councillor Harry Scott, told us “I and my colleagues councillor Penman from Selkirk, and councillors Marshall and McAteer in Hawick and districts, fully support councillor Edgar in his call for decriminalised parking regulations, and wish to see controls introduced in our communities, where the need is identified.

"On a personal note I would l like to see the gradual roll out of pay and display parking in areas where parking restrictions already exist.

"This would help pay for a properly organised body of civil enforcement officers who could not only enforce parking regulations, but deal with dog fouling, fly tipping, litter offences, and other public nuisances.”

It was hoped that the recently established Community Action Team would drive down dodgy parking.

But complaints from motorists and shopkeepers have continued as drivers continue to ignore time waiting limits and even double-yellow lines.

Selkirkshire councillor Caroline Penman added: “As a local retailer and councillor I am acutely aware of the impact caused by abuse of the current parking regulations.

"A properly structured decriminalised scheme would place control in the hands of the council, and I am a sure that an imaginative approach would finally help local traders and residents.”

An elected member-led Decriminalised Parking Enforcement working group was due to bring recommendations for decriminalisation to a meeting last November.

But the report has been delayed while council officers scrutinize the finer detail.

Hawick councillor Stuart Marshall said: “Hawick has suffered constant issues with irresponsible driver behaviour seriously affecting the economic development of our community and introducing a council led approach to managing parking would be a significant step-forward.

"While I understand the costs of introducing a full decriminalised scheme are initially high there is evidence that they do provide a significant return on investment and will ultimately pay for themselves."

Fellow Hawick councillor Watson McAteer added: “Retailers on Hawick High Street have been calling for more effective controls for years and this latest working party looks set to fail to deliver what everyone knows is required.

"While the Police Community Action Team has certainly helped address the problem, they are not able to provide the continuity that can lead to a change of behaviour by irresponsible drivers who abuse the legislation.”