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The road down the eastern side of Kintyre, the B842, is one of the routes to earn a share of more than £2.58 million awarded to projects in Argyll and Bute to help reduce the impact of timber-hauling lorries on roads.
The work on the East road will be of particular benefit as this is a key feeder route into Campbeltown, one of the key TimberLINK ports in Argyll.
As well as a route out for timber from the forest blocks nearest the road, it helps the forest haulage industry use it as part of a one-way system which helps to minimise the number of fully-laden lorries thanks to an in-forest haul route.
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 the Scottish Government’s agency Scottish Forestry.
Another £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.
Around £6.6 million has been allocated right across Scotland through the fund. 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 when shipping timber to market.
Here in Argyll, along with the B842 East Kintyre haulage route to Campbeltown, the other routes to benefit will be the A816 Lochgilphead to Oban; the Loch Awe haulage routes; B8000 Barnacarry to Strathlachlan and Otter Ferry to Millhouse and landing craft loading at Allt Daraich.
The 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 loading ramp to enable timber to be shifted by sea.
Funding will also go towards the post of a timber transport project officer who will give advice across Argyll and Bute.
Cabinet Secretary for the Rural Economy, Fergus Ewing, MSP said when he announced the awards: ‘Scotland’s £1 billion forestry industry is going from strength to strength, producing millions of tonnes of high quality timber every year that will greatly benefit our rural economy. It is important that we do what we can to mitigate the impact on local communities of increased volumes of timber coming to market.’
David Sulman, of Confor, the Confederation of Forest Industries, who chairs STTS Assessment Panel for these awards said: ‘This funding is greatly needed to improve our rural roads to suit modern land uses such as forestry. Work on minor roads – whether it is strengthen the road surface, widening corners, adding traffic calming measures or providing passing places – makes it easier for local residents and business to share the rural road network.
‘The scheme also supports work to improve the freight capacity on some busy rural A roads, which is vital for shifting sustainably-grown timber from Scotland’s forests to timber processing and manufacturing facilities.’