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.
As well as supporting the STTS, the Fund also provides support for the TimberLINK shipping service which moves up to 100,000 tonnes of timber from Argyll to Ayrshire by boat each year.
The STTF also supports projects that move timber by sea or rail, as well as those diverting timber lorries onto in-forest haul routes.
Rural Affairs Secretary, Fergus Ewing, said; “Forestry is a burgeoning, £1 billion 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.
“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.