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UPM Tilhill funds new road to access land-locked Scottish timber


The UKs leading forestry and timber harvesting company has provided co-funding for a timber transport road on Mull and helped make Scotlands first community forest purchase under the national forest land scheme financially sustainable.

The North West Mull community, which purchased 700ha of woodland from Forestry Commission Scotland as part of the National Forest Land Scheme, required a timber haul route that minimised the impact of timber traffic on local fragile rural roads to transport timber for their venture to be sustainable.

The Scottish Timber Transport Scheme offered almost 40 per cent funding of the proposed route which enabled the community to go into partnership with UPM Tilhill who agreed to provide the co-funding necessary for the 15.5km route.

When this has been completed, it will reduce the impact on Mulls roads by an estimated 120,000 tonnes of timber over the next ten years.

UPM Tilhills Argyll Area Harvesting Manager Gavin Brown said: This project was a win-win for the local community and our company. The community would not have been able to make the purchase of the woodland profitable without a haulage route and they didnt have the funds to build one. As a company, UPM Tilhill is always looking to secure timber in large volumes and so we have benefitted by being able to purchase the timber from the site.

Gavin went on to stress that UPM Tilhill is keen to work with community groups for mutual benefit and hopes the North West Mull project will be the first of many joint projects across Scotland.

Colin Morrison, Chair of North West Mull Community Woodland Company Ltd, said: The completion of the North West Mull Timber Haul Route means hundreds of thousands of tonnes of previously landlocked timber, both our own and that managed by Forestry Commission Scotland, can be harvested and brought to market. It brings NWMCWC to a point where we can now manage our local woodlands effectively and for the benefit of all in the community. Without the road all our other projects would have been in doubt.

Thanks are due to SSTTS, UPM Tilhill, Forestry Commission Scotland, Argyll and Bute Council and the landowners and farmers who have allowed the road to cross their land. The Community group is also in the process of establishing Scotlands first-ever woodland crofts, which provide individuals with long-term, secure access to land and opportunities to develop forestry based livelihoods.

I would personally like to pay tribute to the tenacity and professionalism of Ian Hepburn, our Development Manager, without whom the Board of NWMCWC would undoubtedly have struggled to reach this critical point in our development.

Other challenging aspirations include the provision of affordable housing, Micro Hydro Power generation and greater and improved community access to the restructured woodlands. We will continue to work positively towards delivering these benefits.

Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, Richard Lochhead, on tour in the island with Argyll and Bute MSP, Education Secretary, Michael Russell, visited the new North West Mull Community Woodlands Timber Haul Route.

Commenting during his visit Mr Lochhead said that the route was a vital ingredient in helping the community to develop their timber business over the coming years and wished them every success.

1) North West Mull Community Woodland Company Ltd is a community company with charitable status set up to manage Langamull and West Ardhu woodlands in the north west of the Isle of Mull. These woodlands were purchased through the National Forest Land Scheme from Forestry Commission Scotland in 2006 with the assistance of the Scottish Land Fund, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, The Robertson Trust, Hugh Fraser Foundation, significant local fundraising and an interest free loan. Community benefits will include the provision of affordable housing, improved access, business opportunities and the use of the woodlands as an education resource.

2) UPM leads the integration of bio and forest industries into a new, sustainable and innovation-driven future. Our products are made of renewable raw materials and are recyclable. UPM consists of three Business Groups: Energy and pulp, Paper, and Engineered materials. The Group employs around 24,500 people and it has production plants in 16 countries. UPM’s annual sales exceed EUR 10 billion. UPM’s shares are listed on the Helsinki stock exchange. UPM The Biofore Company

3) Through the Strategic Timber Transport Scheme (STTS), the Scottish Government has supported a wide range of projects promoting the sustainable transport of timber in rural areas of Scotland for the benefit of local communities and the environment.

Since its launch in 2005, the STTS has provided 16.2M of support to 71 projects, with an overall value of 36.1M. This particular project completed in partnership between North West Community Woodlands, Argyll and Bute Council, Forest Enterprise Scotland and UPM Tilhill.


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