String of Scottish timber transport projects to benefit from £4m funding

Sixteen timber projects across Scotland have been given a multi-million-pound funding boost in a bid to improve local transport networks.

The projects promise to create new haulage routes away from busy villages, build passing places on narrow roads, upgrade existing fragile highways and promote the shipping of timber by sea. Timber transport projects in Argyllshire, Perthshire, Dumfries & Galloway, the Scottish Borders, Ayrshire and the Highlands will share in the £4 million funding.

Some of the projects that feature in this year’s funding round include £945,000 to support 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, and £284,500 for Perth & Kinross Council to improve parts of the A93 to move 280,000 tonnes of timber including areas toppled by Storm Arwen.

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Meanwhile, £222,000 goes 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 ten years. Highland Council is to receive £245,000 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.

Over the last 23 years, the Strategic Timber Transport Fund (STTF) has contributed more than £82m towards improving Scotland’s timber transport infrastructure through 398 separate projects. Overall, and factoring in the co-funded value through partnerships, the STTF leveraged a further £55m to realise a total spend of £137m. The fund also supports a network of regional timber transport officers and a national co-ordinator who work to help forestry stakeholders identify local timber transport issues.

Rural affairs secretary Mairi 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. But it is also good news for rural communities which are regularly affected by timber wagons using the same routes that local people use too.”

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