The Scottish Government has an announced a £2.85 million boost for the Strategic timber Transport Fund.
The fund aims to help develop projects that offer real environmental and community benefit by taking timber lorries off public roads.
Scottish Evironment Minister Dr Aileen McLeod said: ‘‘One of the primary purposes of the Scottish Timber Transport Scheme is to reduce both the social disruption of rural communities and the environmental impact of timber transport.
“A great example of this is Timberlink, which by transporting timber by ship takes on average 1,000,000 lorry miles off the road every year and cuts 2000 tonnes of carbon emissions.
“That is a major achievement, which together with other funded schemes, helps to make our communities safer, quieter and cleaner.
“This is why it is important that the Timber Transport Scheme continues to support projects that help to make substantive improvements to the quality of life in our rural communities.”
Every year, around 600,000 lorry movements transport 7.5 million tonnes of sustainable timber from Scotland’s forests to market.
The funding has been strongly welcomed by Scotland’s forestry industry.
Stuart Goodall, chief executive of Confor said: “It’s fantastic news that, at a time of budget tightening, the Scottish Government has allocated continued funding to support a key element of Scotland’s successful forestry and wood processing industry.
“This is a maturing industry, one that is becoming a bedrock of many rural communities.
‘‘As it matures we need to work closely with the Government to overcome challenges and to maximise the many benefits the industry can provide across Scotland.”
The fund supports projects that create in-forest roads, by–pass routes and additionally funds improvements to minor public roads.
Other nationally and regionally strategic projects include the potential to develop rail freight: one train can carry between 500-1000 tonnes of timber, the equivalent of 25-50 lorry loads.
It has also opened up opportunities for other sectors, such as the energy transmission sector, to help create shared facilities that will further reduce the total impact of these important economic green activities on the public.