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Timber transport fund boost

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By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale
Timber transport fund boost

DUMFRIES and Galloway Council is being invited to come up with projects that benefit communities affected by timber transport.

The local authority will have the chance to bid for a share of £5 million added to the Strategic Timber Transport Fund (STTF) this week by the Scottish Government.

It means there will be £7.85 million available in 2017-18 for schemes that strengthen public roads and reduce disruption by timber haulage.
The aim is to minimise the impacts on communities and on the environment caused by timber lorries on the rural road network
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, Rural Affairs Secretary, Fergus Ewing, said: “Forestry is a burgeoning, £1billion rural industry that is producing around seven 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.”
He added: “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.”
Dumfries and Galloway is a major timber producing area and according to the local timber transport forum’s 2005 strategy, around 28 per cent of the land is covered with woods and forests.
Furthermore, the area harvest 30 per cent of Scotland’s homegrown timber annual and forestry and processing employs over 2000 people locally.

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