COUNCILLORS have agreed to ditch full-scale enforcement plans for tackling parking problems across the Borders.

But the members of the ruling executive committee are ploughing ahead with a raft of other measures in a bid to free up town centres.

Since the removal of traffic wardens almost five years ago by Police Scotland many towns across the region have been plagued by problem parkers.

Many drivers ignore regulated waiting times as well as yellow lines.

And calls were being made for decriminalisation measures to be introduced, allowing for the local authority to issue its own tickets.

A seven-strong working group, which was chaired by Selkirk councillor Gordon Edgar, tabled a series of alternative measures to enforcement.

Their recommendation for a Traffic Regulation Order review to simplify and regiment waiting restriction across all Border towns was backed by members of the executive.

And further proposals to update yellow and white line markings, introduce new signage, launch a media campaign and carry out further studies to complement the Traffic Regulation Order review were also given the green light.

But only when available funds - costing around £500,000 - are available.

Transport infrastructure manager Brian Young explained why enforcement, which would cost an additional £320,000, wouldn't provide vale for money.

He said: "The evidence from recent and previous surveys did not demonstrate a significant enough problem level to warrant such an intervention, which would require to be implemented across the entire council area and not just in urban centres.

"Concern was also expressed that such an intervention would be unlikely to be effective at the manning levels costed and would potentially be detrimental to the local business economy as well as being an

additional funding burden on the council at a time when it was facing unprecedented financial pressure.

"In addition, it was noted that the council is already currently funding these types of activities through the Police Community Action Team which commenced operations in 2018."

In the final year before traffic wardens were pulled from the street in 2014 they issued a total of 1102 parking tickets and 613 vehicle excise tickets.

Following Scottish Borders Council's funding of the Community Action Team last April, they issued 632 tickets in a nine-month period - with the police issuing a further 324 during the same period.

A second Community Action Team is being introduced this year to help tackle anti-social problems, including parking.

Councillor Edgar stated: "In the course of this review, we examined the extent of parking restrictions and availability in Border towns, the position on enforcement including the potential for decriminalised parking enforcement, and options for the future.

"This examination has allowed us to take account of many different views and also provided us with an insight into wider parking behaviours in the Borders."

As well as agreeing for the Transport Regulation Order review, new signage, line painting, a feasibility study and media campaign, the executive will review the effectiveness of the Community Action Team next year.