£1m to be spent on improving timber traffic routes in Borders

Hawick councillor Davie Paterson surveying the state of the B6399 to Newcastleton from Hawick.
Hawick councillor Davie Paterson surveying the state of the B6399 to Newcastleton from Hawick.

Almost £1m is to be spent on improving five roads near Hawick used by timber traffic, plus another near Tweedsmuir.

That work is being paid for by £590,000 from Forestry Commission Scotland’s strategic timber transport fund, plus £360,000 being chipped in by Scottish Borders Council.

The six stretches of road to be improved are from Shankend Quarry to the C29 junction on the B6399 Hawick-Newcastleton route; , from Redfordgreen to the B709 on the B711 Hawick-Tushielaw road; from the C29-B6399 junction at Berryfell to the A6088 at Hawthornside, south of Hawick; the D1/3 from Roberton to Craik, west of Teviothead; from the D24/3-A7 junction near Northhouse to Priesthaugh Farm, east of Teviothead; and from the D53/1-C8 Talla Road junction to Menzion Forest, near Tweedsmuir.

The works being lined up include edge reconstruction, carriageway strengthening, junction improvements, drainage upgrading and edge widening.

Selkirkshire councillor Gordon Edgar, the council’s executive member for roads and infrastructure, said: “We are delighted to receive almost £600,000 from the strategic timber transport fund.

“With the council’s funding, it means nearly £1m will be invested in these six routes which are vital to the rural communities they serve.

“It will lead to improved road safety, reduce overall damage to the public road network and help sustains local employment and the rural economy.”

The strategic timber transport fund was set up by the Scottish Government in 2005 and is administered by Forestry Commission Scotland.

The six schemes announced in the Borders are among almost 50 nationwide sharing £7.05m funding announced by Scottish Government rural affairs secretary Fergus Ewing on Tuesday.

Mr Ewing, MSP for Inverness and Nairn, said: “Forestry’s continuing £1bn success story will see our timber production rate increase from 7m to 10m tonnes over the next few years, generating significant benefits for our rural economy and providing climate-friendly raw materials, but it is imperative that we bolster this success with efforts to mitigate the impacts of timber lorries on local communities and on the environment.

“This year we have invested an additional £5m in the timber transport fund, a commitment that has encouraged additional investment from seven local authorities and private landowners determined to facilitate forestry’s important role in our rural economy.”

David Sulman, executive director of the UK Forest Products Association and also chairman of the fund’s assessment panel, added: “The considerable interest shown in the fund is extremely heartening.

“It further demonstrates the industry’s responsible approach to timber transport, be it by road, sea or rail.

“The Scottish Government’s financial support is welcomed by all in the supply chain.

“The successful projects will deliver valuable economic, social and environmental benefits for Scotland.”