Scottish spaceport at risk

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The UK’s first ‘spaceport’, planned for a coastal location in the Scottish highlands in north Sutherland is at risk because of local objectors.

The £45 million plan on the A’Mhoine Peninsula is home to just 150 people and has been chosen by the UK’s Space Agency as the launch site to place smallish satellites into low Earth orbit.

A total of some 440 jobs would be created, with 40 directly employed at the site and is backed by the Highlands & Islands Development Board which has described the scheme as a ‘new space age’.

However, local reports say that residents are objecting and arguing that safety and environmental requirements are being ignored. Not helping is that the site is in the middle of a rare peat bog, and claims that the concreting over of much of the site will mean a loss of habitat for the resident white-tailed eagles, the UK’s largest bird of prey.

The land is controlled by the Melness Crofting Estate and arguments over the site has reportedly resulted in 3 of the 7 company directors resigning amid accusations that the local crofters have been ignored and that the community is badly split.

There are suggestions that the whole scheme will lose support and the process taken to the Scottish Land Court where any resolution might take years to emerge.


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