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Legal insights & industry updates

| 1 minute read

Money doesn't grow on trees, but it can help nurture them

The Scottish Government has awarded £7million to projects aiming to support Scotland’s timber network. This funding will be used to improve the timber transport infrastructure, assist the decarbonisation of the forestry sector and benefit rural communities.

The Scottish timber network has grown exponentially in the last half-century. Between 1976 and 2012, Scottish forests’ timber output grew from 1 million tonnes to more than 6 million tonnes per year. In a recent publication, Forestry Commission Scotland forecasts this to rise to an output of 10 million tonnes per year by 2030. Timber haulage is reliant on the Scottish road network, which is often inadequate for these purposes.

In order to support the growth of the forestry industry, which generates £1 billion yearly for the Scottish economy, Scottish Forestry has introduced a number of sustainable transport initiatives.

The Timber Transport Forum was created in 2000 to address concerns of sustainability, support the benefits of the timber network and minimise the impact of timber transport on the public road network. The forum is used to incite change and best practice with policymakers, the forestry industry and timber transport groups.

In 2005, the Strategic Timber Transport Fund was introduced to support projects that minimise the impact of timber transportation. The Fund is delivered through the Strategic Timber Transport Scheme (STTS). STTS funds 50% of costs for projects such as the construction of forest roads that bypass communities, the developing of other modes of transport and upgrading public roads. The Fund further supports the TimberLINK Service. This facilitates the movement of timber by sea on the west coast of Scotland. The service alleviates the Scottish roads of approximately one million lorry miles a year.

What impact do planting targets have on the investment in the timber network? Planting targets are a key measure in achieving the Scottish Government’s climate change objectives. The current planting target is 12,000 hectares per year. This is rising to 18,000 hectares in 2024/25.

The increase in planting targets means that there will be more trees to fell than there have been historically. Suitable and sustainable infrastructure is required to support the long-term goals of afforestation of Scotland.

Projects which will improve Scotland’s timber transport infrastructure, benefit rural communities and help to decarbonise the forestry sector, have been awarded over £7 million from the Scottish Government.


energy_natural_resources, rural economy, transport, agriculture_land_estates, public sector, renewable energy