Timber transport given £2m boost

Timber transport given £2m boost

Image credit: Creel Maritime Ltd

Nine new projects which will improve timber transport in Scotland are to be funded by Scottish Forestry.

£800,000 has been allocated to the projects which include upgrades to existing fragile rural roads, creating passing places or building short routes to take timber traffic away from people’s homes.

A further £1.2 million has already been committed to funding ongoing initiatives including the TimberLINK coastal shipping project, a three-year electric timber lorry trial and a network of Regional Timber Transport officers across Scotland.

Welcoming the Strategic Timber Transport Fund support, rural affairs secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “Scotland’s forests and woodlands are a powerhouse in providing economic growth for the country. Around £1 billion is currently generated every year and the forest industries support 25,000 jobs, many of which are in rural parts of Scotland.

“With around 7 million tonnes of timber being produced each year by our forests, I’m keen to support the sector get their timber to market safely and reduce any disruption to communities.

“I’m also keen to promote ways which can help decarbonise the way timber is moved and look for new solutions in transporting timber in a way that lessens the impacts on the environment.”

Amongst the new projects are:

  • Dumfries and Galloway Council: Seventeen passing places to be added on a single track road (C102a) which is used by local people and timber lorries.
  • Fountains Forestry: creating a new route at Moss of Cree which will provide safe access and transport of timber at Lamachan and Carty Bridge on the C15W public road.
  • Aberdeenshire Council: improvements to a carriageway from Birsemore to Dinnet Bridge which is also a popular commuting route to several local forest businesses.
  • Scottish Borders Council: Upgrading to the B6357 to improve the capacity of the road which is forecast to carry more than 800,000 tonnes of timber over the next decade.
  • Highland Council: The U1019 Bohenie Road will see improvements to allow 45,000 tonnes of timber moved over the next 10 years.

The TimberLINK project operates around Argyll and Ayrshire using ships instead of timber lorries to move around 100,000 tonnes of timber to wood processors.

The three-year electric timber lorry trial is nearing its first year and it exploring how well two lorries can handle the logistics of moving timber around in the south of Scotland and Highlands.

The network of Regional Timber Transport Groups and the Timber Transport Forum will also continue to be funded. These groups and staff provide a critical liaison between communities, local authorities, the forestry industry, and Scottish Forestry to assist with timber transport issues.

Dr William Clark, Scottish Forestry’s forest transport & innovation advisor, added: “The Strategic Timber Transport Scheme has transcended its original aims.

“Whilst still delivering its core benefits of reducing the impacts of timber haulage on Scotland’s communities, it has also become a focal point for innovation and collaboration across a diverse range of stakeholders.

“Local authorities, forest industry businesses, communities, various agencies and government are all working together on this towards the common goal of a sustainable future.“

The Strategic Timber Transport Fund pays for a contribution to the full costs of the projects, with the remainder being paid for by the applicant.

To date £86m funding support for timber transport projects across Scotland has been invested over the past 25 years realising projects worth £130m through co-funding partnerships, helping 575 projects get timber to market whilst reducing the impacts of more than 1 billion tonnes of timber on communities and improving the environment.

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