Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs, Richard Lochhead, today (Wednesday 25 July) visited several businesses in Lochaber to see first hand how Scotland’s robust forest industries are underpinning economic growth in the timber and renewable energy sectors.
Mr Lochhead said:
“Scotland’s forestry and timber sectors have long been mainstays of our rural communities and rural economy - and it is clear from what I have seen that Scotland’s forestry industries are in robust good health!
“It was also very encouraging to see how quickly, efficiently and effectively Scotland is developing its own renewable biomass energy sector supported by the new Renewable Heat Incentive – and how this sustainable, cleaner, cost-effective technology is being adopted by more and more businesses and organisations.
“The Scottish Government is keen to support cleaner, greener, smarter and fairer ways of working that will help businesses and communities to build a stronger, more sustainable future. It was fantastic to see that these businesses have married that support to their own drive and ambition to help create a better Scotland.”
Mr Lochhead’s schedule for the day included visits to:
- Forestry Commission Scotland’s compound in Glen Righ, the base for the preliminary A82 harvesting programme
- BSW Timber’s Kilmallie Sawmill (Corpach, where a new state-of-the-art mill is being built. Part of the group’s £37m expansion programme at the site, the new mill is due for completion next year and has received grant support from HIE (£3.2m) and SE (£1.25m). The existing mill, which generates its own renewable heat via two new biomass boilers, employs over 160 staff and has a turnover of £28M a year.
- Ferguson Transport Ltd’s adjacent new premises, which as well as serving as a new base of operations for the company offers local hauliers maintenance and inspection facilities that were previously accessible in Inverness.
He rounded off the day with a visit to a sheltered housing complex in Fort William - run by Hanover (Scotland) Housing Association Ltd – where a recently installed biomass boiler has reduced heating charges to residents by 40%. The £125,000 installation was supported by £30K Community Energy Scotland grant.
Mr Lochhead also visited Highland Wood Energy (HWE), the company that installed the biomass boiler. Established in 2003, HWE employs 40 people and has completed 170 commercial scale biomass projects that have helped save 17,000 tonnes of CO2 and cut energy bills for customers by over £1.2M
1) Forestry Commission Scotland serves as part of the Scottish Government’s Environment & Forestry Directorate.
2) For news, events and recreation information check www.facebook.com/enjoyscotlandsforests and follow us at www.twitter.com/fcscotland
3) Media enquiries to Paul Munro, Forestry Commission Scotland press office, 0131 314 6507
4) Tha FCS ag obair mar bhuidheann-stiùiridh coilltearachd Riaghaltas na h-Alba agus a' riaghladh nan 660,000 heactairean ann an Oighreachd na Coille Nàiseanta, a' dìonadh, a' cumail smachd air agus a' leudachadh nan coilltean gus buannachdan a thoirt dha coimhearsnachdan, an eaconamaidh agus, ag obair an aghaidh atharrachadh gnàth-shìde. www.forestry.gov.uk/scotland