Cycle routes ruled out

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A CALL by Selkirk MSP John Lamont to convert the Borders’ former railway routes into cycle paths appear to have hit the buffers, writes Kenny Paterson.

Mr Lamont made the plea to Scottish Borders Council as many former sections of the track across the region remain untouched, more than 40 years after the Waverley line closed.

The Conservative politician believes it would promote a healthier lifestyle, with new paths replicating the well-used Selkirk to Galashiels route which travels along part of the old Lindean to Abbotsford Ferry track.

But SBC say it currently does not have the finances to support such a scheme.

Mr Lamont told The Wee Paper: “The last year has seen a huge increase in the popularity of cycling in the UK.

“With successes in the Tour de France and at the Olympics, more people than ever are attempting to take up cycling and we need to do everything we can to encourage it.

“That is why I believe that Scottish Borders Council should turn the many former, unused railway lines in the Borders into cycle routes.

“We are blessed in our region with some of the most scenic railway journeys in the whole of the United Kingdom.

“However, since a lot of our railways were shut down, we are unable to fully appreciate these former journeys.

“Allowing cyclists to use them would help reinvigorate them, while also encouraging tourists from across the country to come and enjoy them as well.”

An SBC spokeswoman said developing former railway lines for recreational use was a long-term policy of the authority to benefit tourism as well as the health of Borderers.

“However, it must be noted that the promotion and development of this type of scheme is expensive and can take a long time to come to fruition,” she added.

“The council would certainly like to try and develop other similar routes within our area, but this will be difficult to achieve within current financial constraints.”

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