Projects which will improve Scotland’s timber transport infrastructure, benefit rural communities and help to decarbonise the forestry sector, have been awarded over £7 million from the Scottish Government.
Timber transport projects in the Highlands, Dumfries & Galloway, Scottish Borders, Ayrshire, Argyll and Perthshire are being awarded financial support.
Work to upgrade fragile rural roads, the creation of new forest haulage routes, and the promotion of moving timber by sea are all sharing in the cash boost.
Announcing the funding, Environment Minister, Màiri McAllan said: “Scotland’s forestry sector supports around 25,000 jobs and generates over £1 billion to the economy each year. Ensuring we have a sound timber transport network is a key feature to ensure economic benefits continue.
“The funding promotes timber transport projects that benefit rural communities too. I welcome projects that reduce lorry trips and take timber wagons away from villages and small rural roads.
“In reaching Net Zero, it is also important that we help the forestry sector decarbonise. I’m therefore very pleased to see new projects coming forward on this and the continued promotion of shipping timber to market.”
The funding is through the Strategic Timber Transport Fund, which is part funded by Transport Scotland and managed by Scottish Forestry.
Some of the projects include:
- Support for the TimberLINK service which is enabling around 100,000 tonnes of timber each year to be moved by sea on the West Coast of Scotland:
- Moray Council to receive funding to divert timber traffic away from the using the Main Street in the village of Dallas, improving overall road safety, reducing noise and disruption to residents.
- Funding for the construction of slipways on the south and north shores of Loch Arkaig, complete with stacking and loading area, and the installation of electric charging infrastructure for an electric barge.
- Heritage Concern Foundation awarded a grant to help construct a new landing craft slipway at Crossaig on the Kintyre peninsula, which will allow greater volumes of timber to be moved by sea.
In the last five years, the Scottish Government has invested around £33 million through the fund into over 180 timber transport projects, helping over 47 million tonnes of timber get to market.
Stretches of local A, B,C class and Unclassified roads will also be upgraded and forest routes added to take timber traffic away from communities.
Upgrades to roads can include improving drainage systems, strengthening or upgrading surfaces and bridges, widening corners or adding traffic calming measures.
Passing places can also be added, making it easier for local residents and business to share the rural road network.
A network of regional timber transport officers and a national co-ordinator continues to be funded to help forestry stakeholders identify local timber transport issues and seek solutions.
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