£5m Rural Road Boost for Timber Transport Funding

The scheme to minimise the impacts on communities and on the environment caused by timber lorries on the rural road network is to benefit from a £5m boost from the Scottish Government.

The 2017 Strategic Timber Transport Fund (STTF), managed by Forestry Commission Scotland, will now offer £7.85 million of co-funding support to projects that strengthen public roads and reduce disruption by timber haulage.

This award of additional money for 2017/18 means that the scheme can deliver even more community, social and environmental benefits.

The STTF also supports projects that move timber by sea or rail, as well as those diverting timber lorries onto in-forest haul routes.

Announcing the funding as part of the agreed Scottish budget for 2017-18, Rural Affairs Secretary, 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 what 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.

“The Timber Transport Fund is there to support projects that do just that – and this additional funding from the Scottish Government is a welcome and significant investment.

“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.”

All projects are required to meet the Strategic Timber Transport Scheme (STTS) funding criteria. Projects involving work on in-forest roads and on normal A-class roads can apply for support at up to 50% of costs.

For 2017/18, physical works on key, minor public roads may be eligible for up to 70% support funding, a rate that will also apply to physical works relating to the movement of timber by rail or sea.

A ‘Preparatory Project Grant’ is also being piloted to facilitate good project proposals for large scale, complex projects, including those seeking to enable modal shift of timber haulage onto rail or sea.

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