Sutherland Satellite Launch Site
Plans to build a vertical launch spaceport in Sutherland approved by Highland Council's North Planning Applications Committee.
07:00 06 July 2020
Highland Council's North Planning Applications Committee has approved plans to build a vertical launch spaceport in Sutherland. The multi-million-pound project by Highlands and Islands Enterprise is seen as a key part of the UK's growing space sector. The approval could see small commercial satellites heading into orbit from a Scottish spaceport within the next few years.
Under the proposals, the Space Hub Sutherland will be built on an area of peatland next to the A838 on the Melness Crofters Estate on the A' Mhoine peninsula. The proposal was submitted following a two-year extensive environmental impact assessment.
David Oxley, director of business growth with HIE, said: "Gaining planning approval from the council is a huge step forward for Space Hub Sutherland.
"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.
"We are very aware of the environmental challenges presented by a project of this kind, particularly in such wild and unspoilt area as A' Mhoine.
"We have been diligent in carrying out survey work to understand and mitigate all potential impacts, including a restoration plan that will see all of the peat that is dug out during construction retained on site and used to repair areas that were degraded by past digging.
"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."