By Anna Gault
Scots have been warned they could face a tartan shortage following a massive blaze at a dye works factory in the Scottish Borders.
The fire completely destroyed the Bridgehaugh Dye Works in Selkirk, which produced dyed yarn and fabric for use in the 350m-a-year tartan industry.
The loss of the 105-year-old factory last week has led to worries that the production of tartan will be affected.
Local councillor, Kenneth Gunn, called the fire a
“tragedy’ and said the loss could have a knock-on effect in the textiles industry.
“It could very well cause a shortage in tartan as there are so many colours involved in making tartan and without a factory like Bridgehaugh contributing to the dying of yarn it might affect that.
“It’s a real tragedy. For an industry that used to employ thousands in the Scottish Borders, this is a wee nail in the coffin. The Scottish Borders Council will bend over backwards to help Bridgehaugh as it is very, very important for textile firms in the area. “
Hilary Buchan of Loch Carron of Scotland, a local tartan manufacturer which once held shares in the factory, said the destruction of the factory would impact on business.
“The loss of Bridgehaugh is a dreadful blow to the UK textile industry as a whole. As a commercial dye works, their customers were country wide.”
The fire will also have an effect on unemployment rates in the area. Twenty-one workers have been left jobless by the blaze.
President of the Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce, Fiona Drane, was concerned about the impact it will have on the town.
“In the city, twenty one job losses is nothing but it makes a difference to a small community like Selkirk.
“These are skilled workers and they will have difficulty getting jobs with other factories as they will be retaining workers and not necessarily be recruiting new workers.’ “
Around 50 firefighters battled to control fire last Thursday. The collapse of the roof and internal walls within the building means it is now completely gutted and it is expected to be demolished.
A spokeswoman for industry body Textiles Scotland said:
“This is a very tragic accident but thankfully no one was hurt.
“Bridgehaugh Ltd has been in contact with other dyers in the area with a view to taking over some of the orders, ensuring minimal disruption to customers.
“The industry as a whole will continue to work with the owners of Bridgehaugh Ltd and help in any way it can.
“Scottish Enterprise has also offered up assistance to the company and staff and will work with them closely over the coming months. “