This is an appeal on behalf of Care for Abandoned Roadside Ditches (CARD).
It has become common practice recently for workmen to dig an immense hole at the side of the road, only to cold-heartedly abandon it to its fate, usually with little more than a cheap plastic barrier to help it survive.
If a car or motorcycle were to run into the side of the road, the ditch could be seriously injured. Even killed.
Just one heartbreaking example is the ditch abandoned near the B7008 (see photograph) near West Calder. This is a true case. Over a year ago a squad of workmen dug a massive hole at the side of the road. It was then callously abandoned. Now, containing old pipe work, rusting iron, a plastic barrier and several lumps of concrete it has become water-filled. A family of frogs recently made its home in it.
A pitiful sight. And easily missed at night, as this is a dark country road. Strong winds regularly blow the fragile barriers down. But kindly locals have tended to it, replacing the barriers. However, it is only a matter of time before a vehicle runs into it.
When that happens, it is unlikely that the ditch will survive. It is amazing that it has endured over 12 months without incident. But it’s only a matter of time…
Amazingly, within a 100 metre stretch there are a further two similar abandoned ditches, though one has managed to take shelter beneath a sheet of thin metal, half hidden by the grass verge, and has survived like that for over two years!. Imagine the injury to this abandoned hole if a vehicle were to park on it!
So, how can you help? Well, for just £3 per month you can adopt a HIG (Hole in the Ground). You will receive a special fact sheet, an adoption certificate and a monthly newsletter keeping you up to date with its progress. You will also get a free pass to visit it anytime you wish.
Alternatively, you could find out the home telephone number of your local councillor and phone them at all sorts of ungodly hours, drawing their attention to the plight of any long-abandoned, half-completed works you happen to notice.
Perhaps you could even send photographs. That way, when a vehicle hits one, you can prove that they had prior knowledge. And you could sue.
Yes, YOU can help these unfortunate, abandoned holes by informing the council and demanding they do something as a matter of urgency. The council will, we are sure, react immediately. After all, they are – as they never tire of telling us on letters, brochures, and on every border signpost – the “Council of the Year 2005”.
In the meantime, when driving on country roads, beware. You never know where one of these deep ditches may be lurking. Cold, abandoned and half-hidden.
On behalf of long-abandoned ditches everywhere, we thank you.