"Fantastic News" on Timber Transport funding

The announcement of a further £2.85 million in Scottish Government funding for the Strategic Timber Transport Fund for 2016/17 has been hailed by Confor as "fantastic news".

Forestry Minister Dr Aileen McLeod revealed the continued funding yesterday to coincide with the Scottish Timber Transport Forum Conference at Battleby, near Perth.

She 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."

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

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 Confor's 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.