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Committee gives go-ahead for future Timber Transport funding opportunities

3rd February 2019

Members of The Highland Council's Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee have agreed that up to £0.5m go towards the 2019/20 round of Timber Transport schemes that will bring future benefits to communities and rural roads in Highlands.

The money will come from the Council's road structural (capital) fund and be used as match funding for the Strategic Timber Transport Fund (STTF) operated by Forestry Commission Scotland.

Last year the Council was successful in applying for £1,534,600 from STTF and a further £136,000 from Forestry Partners. This, along with £0.5m match funding from its 2018/19 Roads Capital Budget has allowed the Council to implement six schemes and to carry out preparatory work so to be in a position to bring forward bids for 2019/20.

The schemes included improvements to the B873 Altnaharra - Syre route in Sutherland, the Strathconon road in Ross and Cromarty, and the C1223 Sheil Bridge to Glenelg Road - a fragile lifeline route leading to the remote and fragile community of Glenelg.

Members were advised that since today's committee report was written the Highlands have secured an additional £240,000 of STTS grant funding for 2018/19 which the council has added £100,000 of match funding from the capital programme to enable a further £340,000 to be invested in improvements.

The Forestry Commission Scotland has once again contacted local authorities and forestry operators asking them to indicate the level of match funding to support STTS bids that they may have available. Bids are likely to be invited in March or April 2019

Chair of the Committee, Councillor Allan Henderson said: "I certainly commend this scheme as last year half a million from the Council resulted in over £2m worth of improvement work being carried out in areas where there was not much possibility of getting this work done without having the support of the Scheme."

"If Highland Council is once again successful in getting funding in the 2019/20 round of bids the money will be used for more projects to improve rural infrastructure in and reduce the impact of timber haulage on local communities."


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