COMMUNITIES across Scotland are set to benefit after an investment of £2 million towards timber transport projects.

The investment from Scottish Forestry aims to decarbonise the timber sector and reduce the impacts of timber lorries on communities and the environment.

The Scottish Government’s Strategic Transport Scheme has financed projects that facilitate the sustainable transport of timber in rural areas of Scotland since 2005.

Around £800,000 from this investment has been put towards local authorities and landowners to bid for new projects. The deadline to submit plans is March 21, 2024.

READ MORE: Scottish forest ownership dominated by wealthy estates, study shows

Mairi Gougeon MSP, the Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, said: “We are focussing the funding towards projects that contribute towards Net Zero by promoting a modal shift in timber transport, whilst also ensuring rural communities and other road users benefit at the same time.

“With funding for new project proposals now open, I would encourage local authorities and woodland owners to work up their plans and apply before the deadline.”

The National: Rural Affairs Secretary Mairi Gougeon

The remaining funds of £1.2 million have been confirmed to continue to go towards TimberLINK, other road improvements, the three-year electric lorry trial and Timber Transport Forum project officers.

TimberLINK is a contract which supports short-sea coastal shipping of roundwood from Argyll to Ayrshire. This is to reduce the impacts of timber transport on the environment and local communities.

Aurelia Peddie, commercial and TimberLINK manager with Associated British Ports, said: “TimberLINK has gone from strength to strength in recent years with the 2,000 tonne MV Runner, chartered by Associated British Ports, shipping in excess of 70,000 tonnes of timber last year.

“This is good news for decarbonisation and of course the environment as using the ship to transport timber, instead of lorries, avoided around 42,000 tonnes of harmful CO2 being used.”

Earlier last year, Scottish Forestry awarded £452,000 towards a three year trial to test out electric timber wagons to transport timber.

Neil Stoddart of Creel Maritime Ltd, which is managing the three-year electric lorry trial, said: “To date, the two trial vehicles are performing well and after some teething problems with charging infrastructure, have now settled into robust work patterns – delivering goods and information for the project.”

More information on applying for Strategic Timber Transport Funding can be found on