Map will protect county’s roads amid forestry boom

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A ROUTE map is set to be launched for transporting timber across North Yorkshire in a bid reduce the environmental impact while sustaining the county’s burgeoning forestry industry.

A new draft document pinpointing commercial woodland locations in the region has been drawn up for consultation between the county council, local communities and forestry chiefs.

It comes after the authority revealed the transportation of timber from forests was having an major impact on roads and the environment, as well as the county’s towns and villages.

The draft map has been drawn up by the North Yorkshire Timber Freight Quality Partnership (NYTFQP), which brings together representatives from the county council, the Forestry Commission, timber and forestry industries and haulage interests.

NYTFQP chairman Jeremy Walker said: “The timber industry is playing an increasingly important role in North Yorkshire’s economy. The route map is a useful tool for both the public and the timber industry and gives all involved a better understanding of the routes that timber vehicles are likely to use. We want to know what communities think and also have the opportunity to discuss the likely extent of local impact.”

The map provides an indication of the average number of haulage vehicles that may need to leave different forests on days that harvesting is taking place and the routes they should take to reach main roads. It also categorises routes based on their suitability for HGV traffic.

The document will act as a starting point for agreeing conditions and measures to allow haulage on sensitive routes.

County Coun Gareth Dadd, North Yorkshire’s executive member for highways and transportation, said: “The timber industry is vital to the county’s economy. However, we want to ensure the impact on communities and the road network is kept to a minimum. The route map is an important tool in achieving this and I thoroughly welcome and support its introduction.”

Members of the public are being invited to comment on the draft map which will help in the development of a finalised version. The consultation runs until April 13.

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