Scotland business

New timber drying facility 'would benefit Borders'

Timber Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The lack of timber drying facilities was seen as a constraint to developing the local forestry sector

Businesses are being urged to consider developing a new timber drying facility in the Scottish Borders.

It follows a major feasibility study commissioned by Scottish Borders Council (SBC) which found a timber kiln would be economically viable.

A lack of suitable facilities in the area was seen as a key constraint to developing the local forestry sector.

The council will hold a seminar next month which will outline opportunities for businesses.

Jointly presented by SBC and the Borders Woodfuel Forum, the seminar will explore the findings of the feasibility study and discuss market opportunities for premium quality wood chip and firewood.

The study, which was backed by the Scottish government, found that the most viable existing market for a new timber kiln would be the production of biomass fuel in the form wood chips or dried logs.

It argued that a new facility would benefit the local economy in terms of employment, greater local timber utilisation and an increased demand for woodfuel.

'Key constraint'

The council said it had made the full report available to the private sector to "encourage businesses to consider seizing the opportunity to develop a new kiln drying facility in our region".

SBC councillor Stuart Bell said: "Studies undertaken as part of the Scottish Borders Woodland Strategy identified the lack of kiln drying facilities as a key constraint on the local timber processing sector.

"Dried timber is a prerequisite for the majority of added value timber products.

"The feasibility study confirms that, currently, there are only two very small drying kilns in the Scottish Borders but increased production of kiln-dried timber within the region could generate a range of new products serving potentially large markets, both new and existing, in the region and surrounding areas."

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