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Timber transport intro

A guide to timber transport in Northumberland, including agreed routes map and restricted roads.

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Timber in Northumberland

This section provides information about the transportation of timber in Northumberland. Northumberland is home to a large proportion of forestry in Northern England, including Kielder, the largest man-made forest in Northern Europe. Kielder and other key strategic forests are the driving force behind a significant processing sector in the region.

Northumberland County Council is a strong partner, together with representatives of the forest industry and forestry commission in the North East timber transport group. The forum was created to address timber transport issues across the region. Together they produced a map of the routes timber lorries take throughout Northumberland. Visit the Timber transport forum website, which provides information/maps as well as links to regional forum groups like ours.

Agreed routes map

The agreed routes map will steer timber wagons along the most suitable roads, avoiding wear to other carriageways, as well as conflict with other road users and local communities. The launch of the agreed routes maps follows on from the launch of ‘roots to prosperity,’ a strategic action plan which proposed an investment of roughly £23 million to create jobs and deliver low carbon growth and sustainable economic development across rural and urban communities in the North East. The agreed route maps identify the following categories of roads based on their capacity to sustain timber haulage.

Agreed routes

  • routes which can be used for timber haulage without restriction, other than as regulated by the Road Traffic Act 1998
  • ‘A’ roads classified as agreed routes, unless covered by other TTG classifications

Consultation routes

These are routes which are recognised as being key to timber extraction, but which are not up to agreed route standard. Consultation with the local authority is required and it may be necessary to agree limits of timing, allowable tonnage etc. before the route can be used. B roads and minor roads are classified as consultation routes unless covered by other TTG classifications.

Severely restricted routes

These are routes which should not normally be used for timber transport in their present condition. These routes are close to being excluded routes and consultation with the local authority is required to achieve an agreed management regime to avoid land locking of timber.

Excluded routes

These are routes which should not be used for timber transport in their present condition. These are either formally restricted or close to being formally restricted. This is in order to protect the network from damaging loads. Consultation with the local authority is required to explore alternatives.  

Review of Timber Transport Agreed Routes Map

A review of the Timber Transport Agreed Routes Map is currently being undertaken.

Update 5 December 2022

Agreed route maps are a voluntary joint agreement between both the Local Authority and the Timber Transport industry. The review of timber transport routes across all the county's roads is on-going and has taken longer than expected due to the level of detail that is being considered.  

The council has carried out a comprehensive initial review exercise considering a number of internal data sources such as the Road Network Hierarchy, condition surveys and structures and weight limits on the network as some of these will have changed since the existing agreed routes map was published, as well as reviewing areas of known concern. This work is now being used to form the basis of discussions with representatives from the Timber Transport industry to facilitate the finalising of a draft updated agreed routes map.  

Following this, it is intended that draft route proposals will be made available to Parish Councils and other stakeholders for any comment after which the updated routes map will be finalised. It is anticipated that the draft proposals should be shared with parish councils for comment in the New Year.

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