A DISPUTE over who should pick up the tab for the removal of asbestos, dumped beside a Peeblesshire road last month, has still to be resolved.

The wrangle means that at the time of going to press yesterday, the pile of hazardous material, which was deposited on the D83/1 road between Ashiestiel and Walkerburn, is still there – five weeks after it was reported to Scottish Borders Council.

“It’s a quite unacceptable situation,” said Councillor Gavin Logan (Tweeddale) East who made the discovery while walking his dog on December 4.

“Apparently, it was dumped 10 feet from the road, which is the responsibility of the council, near a farm gate so it may be considered on private land,” said Mr Logan.

“Either way, it should not be there by now.” In what appears an exemplar of red-tape sponsored inertia, the Peeblesshire News has discovered that, apart from the council, the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and NHS Borders are also involved in the debacle.

On Tuesday, a spokesperson from the council told us: “Discussions are ongoing to identify if this material is on private land, but the council is working towards a resolution to ensure responsible fly-tipping does not become a problem in this area.” The following day, the spokesperson gave us an update as follows: “We continue to investigate the fly-tipping incident between Ashiestiel and Walkerburn, working with colleagues in SEPA and NHS Borders.

“The risk to public health remains minimal. However, the public is advised to stay away from fly-tipped material and to continue to report fly tipping to SBC on 0300 100 1800.” Mr Logan said: “The fact that is has been left near the roadside for over a month is sending out an open invitation to all potential fly tippers.

“I have against asked the council to deal with this hazard as a matter of priority.”