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Last Updated: Wednesday, 28 March 2007, 14:50 GMT 15:50 UK
Timber transport troubles tackled
Timber - pic by Derek Campbell
The investment will take timber lorries off rural roads
Seven projects across Scotland aimed at reducing the impact of timber transport on Scotland's rural roads have been given a 3.7m cash injection.

The support comes through the Scottish Timber Transport Fund.

The biggest investment is 2.5m towards cutting 10,500 lorry journeys around Eskdalemuir in Dumfries and Galloway.

Other schemes to benefit are 655,000 towards the B836 timber haul route in Argyll and Bute and 318,000 to the Arran link road in North Ayrshire.

Scottish Forestry Minister Sarah Boyack said the projects could give real benefits to rural communities.

"The timber industry is a growing sector of the Scottish economy," she said.

Forest route investments
2.5m Eskdalemuir, Dumfries and Galloway
655,000 B836, Argyll and Bute
318,000 Arran link, North Ayrshire
85,000 South of Scotland transport officer
45,000 Peaton Hill, Argyll and Bute
40,000 Ardfern bypass, Argyll and Bute
17,700 Driver training, Dumfries and Galloway

"However, much of the timber resource is accessible only by fragile rural roads which were not built to meet the demands of modern road haulage.

"The challenge, now that many of our forests are maturing, is to find ways to get the timber from forests to the processing mills, with minimum impact on local communities and other road users."

The Eskdalemuir award is the biggest to date from the STTF.

It will create a new forest haulage route and strengthen three sections of the B723.

In addition a new 3,000 metre trail for walkers or cyclists will run from the village to the Samye Ling Tibetan Centre separating traffic from pedestrians.

On the B836 in Argyll and Bute there will be road improvements and traffic calming measures at Clachaig village and Balagowan Bridge.

While the Arran link road will allow timber lorries to travel through five different forests, taking them away from public roads.

Dumfries and Galloway Council has welcomed the significant investment in the region.

'Great benefits'

"The Eskdalemuir project will provide great benefits for the people who live in Eskdalemuir," said spokesman Alistair Speedie.

"It will increase road safety, the quality of life for local people and benefit the environment."

Tory MP for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale David Mundell said it had been a "long battle" to make progress on the issue.

"I congratulate everyone in the local community, local councillors and council staff, who campaigned so hard on this issue.

"I hope we will see work beginning soon so that Eskdalemuir residents will be free of so much large scale timber traffic for which the local roads are so unsuited."

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