COUNCIL officials received death threats as part of a public survey on 20mph speed limits in the Borders, it has been revealed.

And the local authority has confirmed that the police were contacted in relation to “at least one” message posted via the online consultation.

The abusive comments were discussed at a council meeting on Thursday, December 16.

Tweeddale East councillor Shona Haslam, of the Conservatives, branded the threats “completely unacceptable”.

“We need to add our unanimous condemnation to the abuse that was received by the team by certain individuals,” she told the meeting. “It’s completely unacceptable that our officers should be put under such duress.”

A selection of abusive comments were released by Scottish Borders Council (SBC) along with a host of other documents on the speed restrictions.

One respondent to the survey said: “Its [sic] a complete and utter joke. What a waist [sic] of time and tax payers [sic] money. The men and woman [sic] who thought this was a good idea want chained to the back of a motor and dragged along at 20mph until dead.”

Another said: “Who ever thought of it needs ******* shot!”

A different respondent said: “It is a ridiculous idea that has zero effect. It just frustrates people. I’d love to strangle the idiot who implemented [it].”

Out of the tens of abusive comments released by the council, others included calling officials “scumbags”, branding the ‘person who implemented the scheme’ a “snowflake Wally”, and outlining a desire to give SBC staff “a good hard boot to the head”.

The 20mph limits were rolled out across the Borders in October last year as part of an 18-month trial.

The aim of the scheme is to make it easier for people to safely walk and cycle during everyday journeys.

At Thursday’s meeting, elected officials backed plans to keep the 20mph restrictions as the “default” speed limit in the Borders.

While there has been some opposition to the scheme, many of the region’s residents have supported the initiative.

SBC released a number of public survey comments backing the plans.

One respondent said: “One morning on my way to work a child who was cycling to school rode straight into the road from behind a parked van. If I had been doing the old speed limit of 30mph there is absolutely no way I could have stopped.

“The 20mph limit is 100 per cent the reason there wasn’t a horrible accident that morning. If it’s stopped just one accident it’s been completely justified.”

Another said: “It’s been great, being able to comfortably walk/cycle around my area and in other communities has been so much more enjoyable and has improved my mental health.”

A different supporter said: “I have really appreciated the 20mph trial. I actually bought a bike and cycled for the first time in nearly thirty years. I figured if I did get hit, there was at least a chance I might survive it.”

One respondent described it as “the best bit of legislation in years”.

According to SBC documents on the 20mph restrictions, a reduction of 3mph in mean speeds was recorded in the eight months after the introduction of the scheme.

The papers show that when the roads had 30mph limits, the mean speed was around 25mph, but under the scheme that reduced to approximately 22mph.

The extent of reductions is observed to be greater in locations that had higher mean speeds before, the report adds.

The papers add that internationally a one mph average speed reduction results in a five per cent casualty reduction.

Gordon Edgar, SBC’s executive member for infrastructure, travel and transport, said the introduction of the scheme was a “bold step”.

“By working with Edinburgh Napier University on this project, we were able to get a completely independent evaluation of the trial’s effectiveness,” he said. “The fact their data shows a reduction in speeds across the Borders is really encouraging news.”