19 August 2020
Sutherland Space Hub secures planning permission
The first satellite launch site proposed for Scotland has been given planning permission.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise wants to build the Sutherland Space Hub on peatland near Tongue.
Other locations in Scotland have been proposed for the launches of small satellites, including in Shetland.
The Sutherland spaceport has secured planning permission from Highland Council after the Scottish government decided not to call-in the plans.
Highland Council said it had received 457 objections to the plans and 118 representations in support of them.
Up to 12 satellite launches a year could take place at the site, with some of the satellites used to monitor the effects of global warming.
Those behind the project said it could create about 250 jobs, with 61 of them in the Sutherland and Caithness area.
Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) has approved up to £17.3m in funding towards designing and building the space hub. HIE would contribute £9.8m, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority £5m and the UK Space Agency £2.5m.
Scottish Innovation Minister, Ivan McKee, welcomed the planning decision.
He said: "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."
Graham Turnock, of the 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."