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Scottish Forestry has awarded £355,000 to two projects on Arran which will improve the island’s timber transport infrastructure, including a 2.6km section of the Ross Road.
Arran’s roads are heavily used by timber lorries to transport logs off the island for processing and in coming years, large volumes of larch are expected to leave Arran’s forests.
Significant investment has already been made by North Ayrshire Council and Forestry and Land Scotland to the Ross Road, which is a key route. As part of the £355,000 funding boost, a further £156,000 has been awarded to improve this road.
The remaining £199,000 has been allocated to the U88 at North Sannox. Upgrading of this route, which leads to a timber barging slipway, will help maintain its strategic importance of helping remove timber traffic from other areas.
Announcing the funding, environment minister, Màiri McAllan said: ‘Scotland’s forestry sector supports around 25,000 jobs and generates over £1 billion to the economy each year. Ensuring we have a sound timber transport network is a key feature to ensure economic benefits continue.
‘The funding promotes timber transport projects that benefit rural communities too. I welcome projects that reduce lorry trips and take timber wagons away from villages and small rural roads.
‘In reaching Net Zero, it is also important that we help the forestry sector decarbonise. I’m therefore very pleased to see new projects coming forward on this and the continued promotion of shipping timber to market.’
The Ross Road is forecast to take 120,000 tonnes of timber over the next 10 years from public forests in the area. Substantial amounts of that timber includes larch trees which need to be felled because of the tree disease Phytophthora Ramorum.
The cash boost is being made through the Strategic Timber Transport Fund, which is managed by Scottish Forestry, with funding support from Transport Scotland. A total of £7 million is being awarded to a range of timber transport projects across Scotland.
Arran’s MSP Kenneth Gibson said: ‘This funding boost promotes two timber transport projects that benefit Arran’s communities. This funding will be hugely helpful in reducing lorry trips and it will take timber wagons away from villages and small rural roads.
‘Scotland’s forestry sector supports around 25,000 jobs and generates over £1 billion to the economy each year. Ensuring we have a sound timber transport network is a key feature to ensure economic benefits continue.’