Public and private forestry collaboration in the Highlands is laying the foundations for economic opportunity says Rural Affairs Secretary Fergus Ewing.
Speaking at a visit to the Norbord plant in Dalcross (Friday 25 Aug), Mr Ewing praised the part that HIE, Forestry Commission Scotland (FCS) and Forest Enterprise Scotland (FES) played in giving Norbord the confidence to invest £95m in an ongoing expansion and modernisation programme.
Mr Ewing said;
“The Scottish Government fully supports this recent expansion programme by Norbord. It will bring economic and job creation opportunities for the area and boost the Scottish forestry sector.
“It is a significant investment that is very welcome news, and I am pleased to see the speed with which progress has been made.
“Forestry Commission Scotland’s projections of future timber availability, and Forest Enterprise Scotland’s continued commitment to the long-term wood supply for the plant, have been important elements in this investment decision.
“This significant investment shows what can be achieved when our agencies work closely together to enable the ambition of a key rural business to be realised. That Team Scotland approach is vital to our efforts to drive forward the rural economy.”
Forestry Commission Scotland’s forest inventory and production forecasts gave long-term projections for the availability of timber in Scotland to demonstrate the potential for forestry businesses.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise provided a £12m development grant and a substantial proportion of the raw materials for the plant will come from publically owned forests: Norbord has secured two ten-year contracts with Forest Enterprise Scotland that will deliver the extra timber required to support the expansion.
Karl Morris, Managing Director of Norbord Europe, said;
“An investment of this scale is undoubtedly a major undertaking.
“The FCS projections for timber supply in the north east gave us the confidence to embark on our ambitious programme that we anticipate will double production capacity at Dalcross.”
The 25-year forecast of total timber volume indicates a peak of availability in the early 2030s for Scotland, but for the North and NE Scotland regions there is forecast to be a 40% rise with no drop.
For further information visit: Forestry Commission Scotland