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More than £750,000 to be spent improving minor north-east roads affected by timber trade

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More than £750,000 is to be spent improving rural roads in Aberdeenshire and Moray used by timber lorries.

The funding will go towards projects aimed at reducing the impact of the HGVs on people living nearby.

It is part of an overall £6.6million fund from the Scottish Government, managed by Scottish Forestry.

The work is aimed at reducing the number of road miles required to transport timber to market, benefiting the environment too.

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Improvements could include widening corners, adding passing places, strengthening the road surface or taking safety measures to reduce the speed of drivers.

A £526,100 scheme has been announced to improve five Aberdeenshire roads, including near forestry sites in Banffshire, Kincardineshire and Marr.

Roads including the B976 Dinnet-Burnroot Sawmill and minor roads near Banff, Kennethmont and Alford will be improved, as well as Swanley Road near Fetteresso Forest.

Another £242,854 is to be invested in Moray, including on the B9009 Dufftown-Auchbreck and a number of roads near Forres, Knockando and Brodie.

On top of the roads improvements, a new timber transport project officer will be hired to offer advice about roads in Grampian, Stirling and Tayside.

They could help councils attract future funding for similar work in the future.

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing

Rural Economy Secretary Fergus Ewing, said: “Scotland’s £1 billion forestry industry is going from strength to strength, producing millions of tonnes of high quality timber every year that will greatly benefit our rural economy.

“However, it is important that we do what we can to mitigate the impact on local communities of increased volumes of timber coming to market.

“That is the key purpose of the timber transport fund and it is encouraging to know that local authorities and forest owners continue to bring forward project ideas that will facilitate the sustainable transport of timber and ultimately benefit local communities and the environment.”

David Sulman, from the Confederation of Forest Industries, said: “This funding is greatly needed to improve our rural roads to suit modern land uses such as forestry.

“Work on minor roads makes it easier for local residents and business to share the rural road network.”

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