McAlpine Welcomes Fund For Rural Road Improvements
SNP MSP Joan McAlpine has welcomed the news that roads in Dumfries and Galloway are set to benefit, to the tune of £455,000, from a new Scottish Government fund. This money will be used for improvements to the B796 into Gatehouse, the A75 into Stranraer, the A709 to Lockerbie and the U300a at Laverhay.
The 2018 Strategic Timber Transport Fund (STTF), managed by Forestry Commission Scotland, is to improve Scotland’s rural road networks and minimise the impact of timber lorries.
Over £7 million has already been awarded to projects which will improve a number of largely minor rural roads throughout Scotland or take lorries off the road with the timber being transported to market by sea.
Ms. McAlpine said:
“The STTF will bring social and environmental benefits for the Dumfries and Galloway community.
“It is important that we mitigate the impact of timber transportation on our rural roads. The forestry industry is worth £1 billion to the Scottish economy but this comes with an obligation to ensure that the millions of tonnes of timber that we produce is managed responsibly.
“Infrastructure improvements are a key component of delivering economic growth in the South of Scotland and this new fund will contribute to that aim.”
As well as providing these wider community benefits required under the scheme, the funding also delivers benefits to the timber processing sector.
Amongst the projects awarded £6.3 million of support are road, bridge and junction improvements that allow timber lorries to use those routes more safely.
Just over £1 million of funding has also been awarded to support the TimberLINK shipping service and the creation of landing craft loading areas that give access by sea to timber which is growing at the end of very fragile rural roads.
Roland Stiven of the Confederation of Forest Industries said;
“This funding is greatly needed to improve our rural roads to suit modern land uses such as forestry. Work on minor roads such as those at Laverhay in Dumfries and Galloway, strengthen the road surface, widen corners and provide passing places so that timber lorries can share the road with local residents and business while the harvesting programme is underway.
“The Scheme is also supporting work to improve the freight capacity of busy rural A roads such as the A714, vital for shifting sustainably grown timber from Galloway forests to the timber processing and manufacturing facilities in Ayrshire.”
The projects supported not only ensure the continuing steady stream of quality timber to processors across the country but also reduce the number of road miles required to transport timber to market.