Multi-million pound boost for timber transport

21 February 2017

Confor has welcomed an additional £5 million in funding for timber transport in Scotland as "fantastic news" for the sector and for rural communities.

The Scottish Government has announced the extra money for the 2017 Strategic Timber Transport Fund (STTF) which supports projects that strengthen public roads across Scotland and reduce the disruption caused by timber haulage. 

The additional money for 2017/18 means £7.85 million of STTF co-funding is now available to projects that move timber by sea or rail, as well as those diverting timber lorries onto haulage routes within the forest area. 

Stuart Goodall, Chief Executive of Confor, said: "This additional funding is fantastic news. It is a real vote of confidence in Scotland’s £1 billion forestry sector and the 25,000 jobs it supports. Accessing Scotland’s maturing forestry resource can put pressure on the rural road infrastructure and this additional funding is a vital contribution to bringing more of that to market. This is also very good news for Scotland's rural communities, supporting local employment and reducing lorry miles on public roads." 

Since its launch in 2005, the STTF has supported 136 projects which have reduced the impact of timber lorries taking 29 million tonnes of timber to market. 

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy and Connectivity Fergus Ewing said: “Forestry is a burgeoning, £1billion rural industry that is producing around 7 million tonnes of timber a year and is expected to increase this to 10 million over the next decade.   

"This will generate significant benefits for our rural economy but we must also do all we can to mitigate the impact on local communities. This fund seeks to address the impact of increased timber traffic for minor rural roads, many of which need to be improved to deal with heavy vehicles. 

"We look forward to local authorities and forest owners coming forward with project ideas that will facilitate the sustainable transport of timber and ultimately benefit local communities and the environment.” 

Full details of the funding criteria for the STTF, which is managed by Forestry Commission Scotland, are available here.