Ministers of the UK and Scottish Governments, and leaders of the five councils of the Borderlands Partnership, recently signed off Heads of Terms for the £394.5m Borderlands Inclusive Growth Deal, which includes proposed investment in rural development.
This Growth Deal focuses on priorities defined by local partners and aims to assist the development of skills and innovation required to support the growth of key rural industries.
It represents significant steps towards improving transport and digital connectivity, boosting tourism, creating thousands of jobs and potentially generating billions of pounds for the region.
Part of this investment includes the proposed creation of a ‘Forestry Innovation Centre’ – a centre of excellence designed to showcase innovation and improve productivity across the supply chain, shaped collectively by major players in the forestry sector, including BSW.
Hamish Macleod, director of public affairs at BSW, said: “The £10m dedicated to the creation of a natural capital innovation zone, specifically the Forestry Innovation Centre, has huge potential for our sector. It is exciting news for forestry and represents a significant opportunity to support natural capital innovation across the Borderlands region.”
“Ensuring we had a place at the table when the Heads of Terms were signed was critical to us as an industry influencer. We are proud to have been heavily involved in discussions across the forestry industry through a working group which has built the case for this investment.”
The Heads of Terms for the Deal states: “The forestry and wood sector in the Borderlands is an asset to the region which can deliver substantial low carbon growth and contribute towards sustainable economic development.
“Forestry and wood processing are significant employers and contributors to the economic growth of the Borderlands region. Recognising this key sector, the Borderlands Partners will bring forward proposals for a Forestry Innovation Zone as an exemplar for the sector.”
Hamish added: “Our input continues as we look forward to engaging with the broader Natural Capital Innovation Zone proposal. We want to shape the specific idea of a Forestry Innovation Centre and help to maximise rural development that delivers value and economic benefits in the Borderlands area.”
The long-term benefits of the Deal will reach all parts of the Borderlands area, driving inclusive growth and delivering significant and lasting benefits for individuals, businesses and communities.