in Space

Space Hub Sutherland wins planning approval

Posted 19 August 2020 · Add Comment

Ambitious plans to launch satellites into orbit from the north Highlands of Scotland have been approved by the area’s local authority.



Image courtesy Norr / Highlands & Islands Enterprise

Development agency Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) intends to create Space Hub Sutherland on land owned by Melness Crofters Estate on the A’ Mhòine peninsula, south of Tongue.

HIE had submitted plans in February this year, including an extensive environmental impact assessment. Following a period of public consultation, these were considered on 26 June by the Highland Council North Planning Applications Committee.

Although the committee was minded to approve the application, the council was required to notify Scottish Ministers, as part of arrangements to ensure government overview of spaceport planning applications.

On 3rd August, the Scottish Government announced that ministers did not intend to intervene and the council was free to determine the outcome of HIE’s application, which it has now done.

The decision means that small commercial satellites and launch vehicles designed and manufactured in Scotland could be taking off from Sutherland within the next few years.

Up to 12 launches a year will be permitted from the spaceport, which will include a control centre, 2.5km of road and a launch pad, occupying a total of just over 10 acres of the 740-acre site.

HIE has approved a budget of £17.3m to develop Space Hub Sutherland, including funding from the UK Space Agency and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

Planning approval is subject to a set of 34 conditions, including measures to ensure operations are carried out safely and strict protection measures are implemented and monitored to protect the natural environment.

Scottish Government Innovation Minister Ivan McKee said: “I very much welcome the decision of the Highland Council to approve the planning application for Space Hub Sutherland, which will support around 250 well-paid jobs in the Highlands and Islands, including 61 in Caithness and Sutherland.

“This is the first of Scotland’s spaceport projects to clear the planning process and it represents a significant step forward for both the project and Scotland’s aspiration to offer the full end to end capability for manufacturing and launching small satellites and analysing their data.

“The space sector has a key role to play in the fight against global climate change and this milestone has been achieved through the hard work of the Sutherland team in partnership with the local community, leading experts and public bodies.”

Graham Turnock, CEO, UK Space Agency said: “Growing our domestic launch capability will bring new jobs and investments to communities in all corners of the UK. Space Hub Sutherland is an integral part of these plans and today’s news strengthens our position as Europe’s leading destination for small satellite launches.

“The UK government is committed to minimising the environmental impact of spaceflight activities and is developing a National Space Strategy which recognises the unique contribution of satellite technology to our understanding of global issues like climate change.”

David Oxley, director of business growth with HIE, also welcomed the council’s decision: “The UK’s space ambitions present a wonderful opportunity for the Highlands and Islands.

“A vertical launch spaceport is a key piece of the national jigsaw, along with the design and manufacture of satellites and launch vehicles, that will ensure Scotland can derive maximum economic benefits from this growing and exciting sector.

“Another important aspect is the role that satellites launched from Sutherland will play in gathering data that will help people around the world to understand and address the impacts of climate change.

“In developing our plans, we have always been very mindful of the environmental challenges presented by a project of this kind. Part of our ambition is to create the world’s most low-carbon space centre and the conditions applied to the planning approval will help us make that a reality.

 “When all these factors are put together, that makes today’s decision a good result not just for the economy, but for the environment as well.”

 

 

Other Stories
Advertisement
Latest News

PM to announce largest military investment in 30 years

The biggest programme of investment in British defence since the end of the Cold War will be announced today by the Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

Security & Policing 2021 registration opens for online event

Visitor and exhibitor registration is now open for the official UK Government global security event Security & Policing 2021, set to take place as an online event between 9th-11th March 2021, offering the opportunity to meet,

UK scientists step closer to revealing origins of our Galaxy

Astronomers have today taken a meteoric leap closer to discovering how our solar system began, unveiling the most detailed atlas of the Milky Way in history.

Tech accelerator announces industry partnership with Steatite

Worcestershire’s commercial technology accelerator based at Malvern Hills Science Park, BetaDen, is offering a package worth around £50,000 to develop and commercialise new technology, including for aerospace, defence and

NP Aerospace launches new 4030 ELITE Bomb Disposal Suit

Global armour manufacturer, NP Aerospace, has extended its Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) portfolio with the launch of a next generation Bomb Disposal Suit targeting North America and other strategic global markets.

Resonate Testing partners with Composites Testing Laboratory

Newry based testing company, Resonate Testing Ltd., has partnered with Composites Testing Laboratory (CTL) in Galway to help increase their services and capabilities, as part of ambitious plans by both companies for future growth.

ODU 0201311219
See us at
RAF Museum BT3CDSE BT0210030221Security & Policing 2021 BT