Sutherland launch complex. (Credit: HIE)
INVERNESS, Scotland (HIE PR) — The Highland Council’s North Planning Applications Committee today [Friday 26 June 2020] approved plans by Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) to build a vertical launch spaceport in Sutherland.
Council approval means that small commercial satellites and launch vehicles designed and manufactured in Scotland could be heading into orbit from a Scottish spaceport within the next few years.
The committee’s decision will now be referred to Scottish Government ministers for review.
Space Hub Sutherland is proposed to be built on an area of peatland next to the A838 on the Melness Crofters Estate on the A’ Mhòine peninsula, around six miles from Tongue.
Launch-related infrastructure 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.
As part of its planning application, HIE commissioned specialists to carry out extensive environmental impact assessments over a two-year period.
Their recommendations are reflected in conditions set out by the planning authority to ensure that construction works and site operations will minimise any potential impact on wildlife and the natural environment.
In 2018, the board of HIE approved in principle a budget ...