Taking timber traffic off public roads

Environment, Climate Change & Land Reform Minister, Dr Aileen McLeod has hailed the success of new investments that will contribute to the mitigation of the impact of a million timber lorry journeys on Scotland’s rural roads over the next ten years.

Nineteen projects have recently been awarded a total of £2.4M funding through the Scottish Government’s Strategic Timber Transport Scheme (STTS), involving local authorities as well as forestry and transport businesses.

This takes the overall value of projects funded in the programme’s ten year history to nearly £50M.

Dr McLeod, said:

“Scotland’s timber industry is in very good health at the moment and that is hugely important for Scotland’s rural economy.

“One impact of this success is that it means transporting some seven million tonnes of timber per annum from forests to processors around the country – more often than not starting on minor rural roads and travelling through rural communities.

“The Strategic Timber Transport Fund has been operating successfully for ten years to help reduce the amount of timber traffic, making our forest industry less intrusive, our rural infrastructure more sustainable and improving the quality of life in rural areas.

“It is heartening to see so many businesses and organisations working together to deliver these latest projects that will make a significant contribution to that aim.”

The projects to be delivered by March 2016 – which have a total value of over £4.5M when including the match funding – include improvements to some in forest timber haul route roads and local authority roads, the construction of new in-forest roads and a replacement bridge built at Ruthven.

Key projects include:

  • Flow Country Timber Links - improvements to the A897 and B871 in central Sutherland ahead of projected timber output increase from 20,000 tonnes pa to 175,000 tonnes pa in 2016 and beyond. (Award £805,694: Total Project Value £1,095,694: Co-financed by The Highland Council, Forest Enterprise Scotland, RSPB)

  • South Loch Ness In-Forest Strategic Haul Route – public road improvements and the extension of 10km of existing forest roads to create a 15km in - forest haul route, that will allow loaded timber lorries to avoid a number of local communities. The haul route catchment is set to produce over 420,000 tonnes of timber over the next 10 years.  (Award £257,000: Total Project Value £514,000: Co-financed by FES, Yeoman Forestry Trust, The Highland Council

  • Ruthven Bridge Replacement - replacing the weight restricted (3 tonne) 71 metre, three-span Ruthven Bridge on the B970, with a new structure able to bear 44 tonne traffic. The bridge also provides a vital community link. (Award £250,000: Total Project Value  £1,000,000: Co-financed by The Highland Council)

  • Branchliner 1 An Investigative Study - looking at the long-term potential for rail to help transport 4M tonnes of timber from the wider Flow Country catchment to distant markets, and reducing pressure on netowkr of minor roads.  (Award £20,000: Total Project Value £30,000: Co-financed by HITRANS, Forestry Commission Scotland)

Importantly, the STTS is also part funding four project officer posts (Argyll, Stirling & Tayside and Grampian Officer, Highland, South Scotland) that support the timber transport groups and which are critical for maintaining the voluntary partnership framework that manages timber traffic on our roads and for helping to develop eligible projects for the STTF.

Notes to editors

  1. Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government's Environment and Forestry Directorate.
  2. Tha FCS pàirt de Bhuidheann-Stiùiridh Àrainneachd is Coilltearachd aig Riaghaltas na h-Alba; a' riaghladh nan 660,000 heactairean ann an Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta, a' dìon, a' cumail smachd air, agus a' leudachadh choilltean gus buannachdan a choileanadh dha coimhearsnachdan, dhan eaconamaidh agus ag obair an aghaidh atharrachadh sa ghnàth-shìde.
  3. Media enquiries to Paul Munro, Forestry Commission Scotland press office, 0300 067 6507 / 07785 527590 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.