SCOTLAND'S timber industry has been hailed as a "real success story" by a senior MSP during a visit to a sawmill. 

Brian Whittle, Scottish Conservative shadow minister for the environment, biodiversity and land reform, visited Confor members Glennon Brothers and Alexander Timber Design in Troon, Ayrshire.  

Alexanders recently moved to a three-shift system, creating 25 new jobs, due to growing demand for timber frames for new homes in Scotland. 

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Mr Whittle, a regional MSP for South Scotland, which includes the sites he visited, said: “It was fascinating to meet with Confor and visit the site in Troon. Scotland’s timber industry is a real success story and I’m pleased to see the effort that’s being made to build on that success in the future.  

“As we all work to tackle climate change, it’s vital that industries like forestry and timber production put sustainability at the heart of what they do. It was great to see how much thought Glennon Brothers and Alexander Timber Design have put into making their processes as efficient as possible, minimising waste and investing in renewable energy sources. " 

Mr Whittle was accompanied on his trip by Stuart Goodall, Confor chief executive, and Scott Shiells, head of group operations for Glennon Brothers. 

He added: “I’m grateful to Scott and Stuart for meeting with me to discuss how we can continue to build on the success of our forestry and timber industry while helping to protect Scotland’s valuable natural environment and look forward to continuing those discussions in the future.”

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The increase in production at Alexanders means around 2,500 timber frames will be produced annually in Troon, with almost 250 people employed at the sawmill and timber design site. Around 85 per cent of all new-build housing in Scotland is made from timber frames, compared to under 30 per cent in the rest of the UK. 

Mr Shiells said: “We were delighted to welcome Brian Whittle to the plant to tell him a very positive story about forestry and timber and the economic and environmental benefits it brings.  

“About one-third of the wood we use is brought in by boat, mainly from Argyll, to the Port of Troon - reducing timber lorry movements significantly. Within weeks, some of those logs will be part of a timber frame house being built in Scotland - it’s an amazing environmental story and at the same time, we are creating new jobs and adding value to the Ayrshire economy.” 

Mr Goodall said: “With COP26 taking place in Glasgow, this visit was an opportunity to showcase how the forestry and sawmilling sector is contributing to net zero, both through locking up carbon and generating onsite renewable energy. There’s more that the sector can do and we’re keen that it is understood and supported by politicians. 

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“There has been broad political consensus to increase the planting of modern, mixed-species forests to deliver a range of economic and environmental benefits to Scotland - and Confor and its members will continue to engage with all politicians and stakeholders to shout about this modern Scottish success story.”