Rural communities to benefit from multi-million timber transport fund

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Head of Forestry Commission Scotland, Jo O'Hara, at the Scottish Timber Transport Forum Conference, Battleby 10 March 2016


Environment Minister, Dr Aileen McLeod, today announced a £2.85 million boost for the Strategic Timber Transport Fund for 2016/17, continuing the work of this important scheme over the past ten years.

The fund aims to help develop projects that offer real environmental and community benefit by taking timber lorries off public roads.

Dr McLeod said;

“One of the primary purposes of the Scottish Timber Transport Scheme is to reduce both the social disruption of rural communities and the environmental impact of timber transport.

“A great example of this is Timberlink, which by transporting timber by ship takes on average 1,000,000 lorry miles off the road every year and cuts 2000 tonnes of carbon emissions.

“That is a major achievement, which together with other funded schemes, helps to make our communities safer, quieter and cleaner.

“This is why it is important that the Timber Transport Scheme continues to support projects that help to make substantive improvements to the quality of life in our rural communities.”

Every year, around 600,000 lorry movements transport 7.5 million tonnes of sustainable timber from Scotland’s forests to market.

The funding has been strongly welcomed by Scotland’s forestry industry. Stuart Goodall, chief executive of Confor said:

“It’s fantastic news that, at a time of budget tightening, the Scottish Government has allocated continued funding to support a key element of Scotland’s successful forestry and wood processing industry.

“The minister expressed her strong support for the industry at our recent annual awards dinner, and it is great to see the practical evidence of that support with this funding.

“This is a maturing industry, one that is becoming a bedrock of many rural communities. As it matures we need to work closely with the Government to overcome challenges and to maximise the many benefits the industry can provide across Scotland.”

The fund supports projects that create in-forest roads, by–pass routes and additionally funds improvements to minor public roads. Other nationally and regionally strategic projects include the potential to develop rail freight: one train can carry between 500 – 1000 tonnes of timber, the equivalent of 25 – 50 lorry loads.

It has also opened up opportunities for other sectors, such as the energy transmission sector, to help create shared facilities that will further reduce the total impact of these important economic green activities on the public.

Notes to editors

  1. Forestry Commission Scotland is part of the Scottish Government's Environment and Forestry Directorate.
  2. Forest Enterprise Scotland is an agency of Forestry Commission Scotland and manages the National Forest Estate on behalf of Scottish Ministers.
  3. The Fund facilitates the aims of the Scottish Government to work in close partnership with industry to develop a reliable, sustainable and resilient transport infrastructure to support Scotland’s economic activity.  Newly delivered road access to forests also enables the growth of forest based recreation activities, and can play an important part in maintaining forest health.
  4. • Timberlink usually ships 80-100,000 tonnes of timber from ports in Argyll to mills in Ayrshire.

    • The fund supported the Rathad Mara project, which in partnership with local landowners, developed a floating pier system to help access coastal forests in Glenelg, Loch Etive and Kingairloch. Some 270,000 tonnes – 10,800 lorry loads – have been carried by sea.

    • A programme of public road strengthening works at Applecross enabled 68,000 tonnes of timber to be taken to a nearby port for onward shipping. Carried out in partnership with the local authority, this project reduced the amount of timber haulage on minor rural roads.

  5. Tha Coimisean na Coilltearachd Alba na phàirt de Bhuidheann-Stiùiridh na h-Àrainneachd is Coilltearachd aig Riaghaltas na h-Alba. Tha e an urra ri riaghladh agus cumail maoineachadh is comhairle ri coilltearachd ann an Alba. Tha Iomairt Choilltean na h-Alba na fo-bhuidheann aig Coimisean na Coilltearachd Alba a tha a’ ruith Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta.
  6. 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.