SCOTTISH Borders Council is to close two of its waste recycling bin lorry depots as part of its new budget.

The plans will see council bin lorries being moved from Peebles and Duns and consolidated in Hawick and Galashiels, leading to longer journey times for bin crews and some other staff travelling to work.

The extra travelling times for bin crews operating in the north and east of the Borders could also lead to an increase in the waste disposal service’s carbon footprint.

A council spokesperson said: “A review of the waste collection service was considered by the council as part of its budget, and the decision was made to progress with operating the waste and recycling collection service out of two depots, Galashiels and Hawick,  instead of the current four – Galashiels, Hawick, Duns and Eshiels, near Peebles.

“These depots will not be closing as there are also community recycling centres at these sites.

“Moving to an operation out of two depots allows the delivery of a more efficient service, allowing the improved management, support and use of staff and fleet resources, and to address workload equality and inequality issues, deliver economy-of-scale efficiency savings, reduce need for and reliance on agency staff, enable more standardised operations and improve communications.

“All changes are made and staff are supported in line with existing human resources policies and procedures.”

The council spokesperson also said that extra fuel costs associated with the move would not negate any potential savings.

The change forms part of the council’s 2019-20 budget, agreed on Thursday, February 28.

Speaking at that meeting, council leader Shona Haslam urged her colleagues to vote for the administration’s budget proposals saying: “This administration has, from the outset, been determined that our core front-line services would be protected, that our most vulnerable individuals, families, and communities would be protected, and I’m extremely pleased that we have achieved this in the budget.

“But that’s not enough. We’re ambitious for the future, we want to invest in our communities and our young people. This budget also does that. This budget promises a digital, technological revolution in our schools.

“It brings forward plans to replace four high schools in our region with a sensible, costed solution for how to do that.

“It provides vital services such as bin collections and public toilets and brings forward solutions on how we can ensure that these services are fit for the future.”