£2m timber sector boost

Màiri McAllan, minister for environment, biodiversity and land reform

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Argyll and Bute projects which help keep timber transport moving have been awarded more than £2 million.

The cash boost has gone to Argyll and Bute Council and the TimberLINK project to help improve surfaces, widen corners, add traffic calming measures and provide passing places.

The measures aim to keep timber moving and reduce the impact of the sector on communities.

The cash from the Scottish Government is drawn from the Strategic Timber Transport Fund, managed by Scottish Forestry.

The TimberLINK project transports timber from forests in Argyll and Bute by sea to wood processing plants in Ayrshire.

Màiri McAllan, minister for environment, biodiversity and land reform, said: ‘A green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic is imperative and, as part of that, we are committed to supporting our forestry sector given its role in our transition to net zero.

‘The sector also provides thousands of jobs and generates around £1 billion to our economy each year.

‘By improving our timber transport network, we can help the industry get its timber to market and ensure economic benefits continue.

‘It will also reduce the effect timber lorries can have on small communities.’

The roads to get improvements include:

B8024 Glen Ralloch; B8000 at Kames, Millhouse and Kilfinan; B845 at Barrachander and Glen Nant, A816 Blaran, which is phase two of an ongoing project; the A8003 at Tighnabruiach to the viewpoint; the A816 Kilmore to Kilninver and the B842 High Askomil at Campbeltown.

The funding will also pay for the continuation of a timber transport project officer to advise and help generating new ideas.

The TimberLink project is celebrating its 21st anniversary and received £900,000.

Through the project, around 100,000 tonnes of timber each year is shipped from Ardrishaig, Campbeltown and Sandbank to wood processing plants in Irvine, Troon, Girvan and Auchinleck.

In the last five years, the Scottish Government has invested around £41 million through the fund into more than 200 timber transport projects, helping more than 55 million tonnes of timber get to market.