Timber cash to ease lorry burden on Argyll roads

Fergus Ewing MSP Scottish Government's Cabinet Secretary for Rural Economy Seen here at the site in Clackmannanshire Pics Alan Peebles

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Scottish Government funding of over £2.58 million has been awarded to projects in Argyll and Bute to reduce the impacts of timber lorries on our roads.

In total, £1,78 million has been awarded to support road strengthening in the area from the Strategic Timber Transport Fund, which is managed by Scottish Government agency, Scottish Forestry.

An additional £800,000 has been awarded to support the TimberLINK shipping service which moves 80-100,000 tonnes of timber from forests in Argyll to markets in Ayrshire, taking nearly a million lorry miles off the public road network.

Around £6.6 million has been allocated right across Scotland through the fund.

The cash for road projects means that every £1 spent by the Argyll and Bute Council has been almost doubled by the Strategic Timber Transport Fund. Total spend for timber road improvements, including the council’s investment, will come to more than £2.7 million.

The co-financed money will go towards the improvement of mostly rural roads used by timber wagons and the building of a landing craft ramp at Allt Daraich on Loch Striven to enable timber to be shifted by sea.

Funding will also go to a timber transport project officer who gives advice across Argyll and Bute.

Announcing the awards, Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy Fergus Ewing said: ‘It is important that we do what we can to mitigate the impact on local communities of increased volumes of timber coming to market.

‘That is the key purpose of the Timber Transport Fund and it is encouraging to know that local authorities and forest owners continue to bring forward project ideas that will facilitate the sustainable transport of timber and ultimately benefit local communities and the environment.’

The projects in Argyll to receive money are:

  • A816 Lochgilphead to Oban strategic route;
  •  Lochawe haulage routes – B840, C30 and C29;
  • B842 east Kintyre haulage routes to Campbeltown;
  • B8000 Barnacarry to Strathlachlan and Otter Ferry to Millhouse;
  • Leorin B8016 on Islay
  • and Allt Daraich landing craft loading facility.

Argyll and Bute councillor Ellen Morton, depute policy lead for roads and amenity services, said: ‘It is particularly encouraging to see that the council has submitted quality projects, in a competitive process, that have secured three of the highest individual funding awards.

‘Forestry is one of the key industry sectors in Argyll and Bute and it plays a vital part in growing our economy. As much as we encourage it, we recognise it has an impact on our infrastructure at a time when we, as a council, are making difficult choices about services.

‘We are therefore delighted to be able to double our investment in roads to the benefit of our communities and our local businesses.’