Sixteen new timber transport projects throughout Scotland have been given a funding boost from rural affairs secretary Mairi Gougeon.
The projects – which are part of the Strategic Timber Transport Fund (STTF), funded by Transport Scotland and managed by Scottish Forestry – will help improve infrastructure and take pressure off rural roads used by communities.
New projects in Argyllshire, Perthshire, Dumfries & Galloway, Scottish Borders, Ayrshire and Highlands, will share in the £4 million funding.
Announcing the funding, Ms Gougeon said: “Our forestry sector has an important part to play in reaching Net Zero. I am pleased that the Scottish government and local authorities are continuing to provide support to help the industry decarbonise, whilst also improving local transport networks. That is good for our forestry industry, strengthening its ability to get timber to market.
New projects to share £4 million funding
“But it is also good news for rural communities which are regularly affected by timber wagons using their same routes that local people use too. With road widening works, diversionary roads and more passing places, communities will be less affected.”
The projects will create new haulage routes away from busy villages, build passing places on narrow roads, upgrade existing fragile roads and promote the shipping of timber by sea.
These include: £945,000 to support for the TimberLINK service which is enabling around 70,000 tonnes of timber each year to be moved by sea on the West Coast of Scotland; £284,500 to Perth & Kinross Council to improve parts of the A93 to move 280,000 tonnes of timber including areas toppled by Storm Arwen; £222,000 to Dumfries & Galloway Council to improve a stretch of the A711 through Dalbeattie which needs strengthened to carry an estimated 1,800,000 tonnes of timber over next 10 years; £245,000 to Highland Council to widen the approach to the Howford Bridge across the River Nairn on a route well-used by timber lorries bringing logs to the Gordon Timber sawmill in Nairn; and £111,000 to Argyll & Bute Council for the continuation of improvement work on the road between Ballochandrain and Tighnabruaich through resurfacing and widening. This road serves a busy community and is forecast to carry 253,940 tonnes of timber over the next decade – typically going to onwards transport by boat from Sandbank.
Over the last 23 years, the STTF has contributed over £82 million towards improving Scotland’s timber transport infrastructure through 398 separate projects.
Overall, and considering the co-funded value through partnerships, the STTF leveraged a further £55 million to realise a total spend of £137 million.
The fund also supports a network of regional timber transport officers and a national co-ordinator who all work to help forestry stakeholders identify local timber transport issues and seek solutions.
Further £55 million to realise a total spend of £137 million
Scotland’s forestry sector supports around 25,000 jobs and generates over £1 billion to the economy each year.
Around 7 million tonnes of timber is transported from Scotland’s forests to sawmills and processing plants.