Page last updated at 11:02 GMT, Friday, 8 January 2010

'Valiant efforts' tackle snowfall in Scottish Borders

Snow in Peebles
External contractors have been brought in for the weekend to try to get the Borders "back to work" on Monday

A council leader has praised the "valiant efforts" of staff to clear roads across the Borders and allow schools to reopen on Monday.

Police have urged drivers in the region to stay at home as work to clear routes in the area continues.

Scottish Borders Council leader David Parker said staff were "working tirelessly" to tackle heavy snowfalls.

External contractors have been called in for the weekend to help clear main routes and areas around schools.

All 74 primaries and secondaries in the region have not reopened since the Christmas holidays.

However, it was hoped that "most, if not all" of them could return on Monday.

Cars in Peebles
A special radio programme on the Borders snow is being transmitted from 1654 GMT across the region on 93.5FM

In neighbouring Dumfries and Galloway, all but 15 sites had returned by Friday.

The situation on the roads remains testing with driving conditions in the Borders described as "difficult and challenging".

Priority has been given to the trunk and A roads in the region with other resources targeting secondary routes and the area around schools.

The Borders Machinery Ring has been assisting, with local farmers using tractors and ploughs on C routes and unclassified roads.

Community service teams have been drafted in to help clear snow outside care homes to allow pedestrian and vehicle access.

The council said 100 employees had also been redeployed to assist its 140 roads staff with their work.

They have been using a "limited supply" of salt to target main roads although its effectiveness has been reduced by the low temperatures.

'Tremendous response'

Mr Parker said: "Valiant efforts are being made to get the Borders back to work on Monday.

"Hundreds of our staff have been working tirelessly over the course of the week to clear our roads and make sure vulnerable people are safe.

"This has been an extremely difficult time, but the response to this emergency situation has been tremendous."

He said everyone had "pulled together" to try to address any problems as they arose.

"We are getting there," he added.

"It may take another few days, but we are optimistic that Monday will bring a huge change for everyone."

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