CASH-STRAPPED councils are behind a FOUR-month delay to introduce a CCTV system on the Erskine Bridge.
Officials at Renfrewshire and West Dunbartonshire Councils have put the brakes on the scheme designed to reduce deaths at the suicide blackspot.
Annual costs and monitoring responsibilities of the 14 close-circuit network of cameras planned for the busy bridge has halted work.
Now calls have been made for the Scottish Government to offer financial assistance to the councils ensure the system is up and running as soon as possible.
West Renfrewshire MSP Trish Godman said: “I support Transport Scotland’s plans for a CCTV system but now there seems to be a problem with how it will be monitored.
“It would be a waste of public time and money if the two authorities, quite understandably during this difficult economic time, were unable to monitor the cameras.
“I have written to the First Minister to ask for funding to be made available to help with this.
She added: “It is essential that better safety measures at the Erskine Bridge are introduced as quickly as possible.”
In April, the Express revealed that the two local authorities and Transport Scotland were locked in discussions about the introduction of new security measures at the suicide blackspot.
The national transport agency obtained capital funding of around £350,000 to install the cameras – as well as to investigate options on raising platforms on the bridge – and is ready to go-ahead with the project.
It was expected the neighbouring councils would take over monitoring responsibilities – at a cost of about £120,000 each year – but it appears there is some doubt that CCTV is not the best option.
A Renfrewshire Council spokesman said: “The funding of any CCTV measures really involves two aspects – the cost of installation and then the cost of monitoring. At this stage it’s fair to say we would hope to see a funding solution which meets both aspects.
“It’s also important that the likely effectiveness of CCTV in this situation is fully assessed before any final decisions are taken and we are working jointly on that with all those involved.”
A spokeswoman for West Dunbartonshire Council added: “While Transport Scotland has been fortunate to obtain the capital funding to install the cameras, no provision has been made for additional funding to the councils to monitor the cameras.”
The Erskine Bridge is one of Scotland’s most notorious areas for people taking their own lives.
Last year, the bridge was again in the spotlight after two teenage girls lost their lives when they jumped off the bridge.
Shortly after the incident, the Samaritans bosses created eight new signposts on the bridge showing their contact number, in a bid to prevent people from leaping to their deaths.