In a move to improve the transport of timber in Scotland, almost £1m has been invested in improving five roads near Hawick used by timber traffic, plus another near Tweedsmuir.

The Forestry Commission Scotland’s strategic timber transport fund will be contributing £590,000, while the Scottish Borders Council will be adding another £360,000 to that sum.

The work will include edge reconstruction, carriageway strengthening, junction improvements, drainage upgrading and edge widening.

Gordon Edgar, a Selkirkshire councillor who’s 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.

Scottish Government rural affairs secretary Fergus Ewing highlighted the importance of the investment by saying: “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.”

These projects are expected to significantly boost the timber trade in Scotland and deliver valuable economic, social and environmental benefits.

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