Sutherland spaceport plans cover ‘extensive’ site

Sutherland spaceport plans cover 'extensive' site

Illustration of an Orbex launch

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The site would be used for the launching of small satellites

A proposed spaceport would be built on an “extensive” site in a relatively “untouched landscape”, according to a planning report.

Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) is heading up the Space Hub Sutherland project.

Ahead of seeking planning permission in December, HIE has given Highland Council notice of what is proposed.

A control centre, launch pad complex and “antenna farms” are planned for the site of about 815 acres (330 ha).

Also proposed are a rocket assembly building, launch towers and security fencing.

Land owner

In the report to councillors, local authority planning officials said the satellite launch facility was planned for an area of “sweeping” moorland and peat bog wetland, known as “flows”.

The nearest “significant” artificial structures are the A838 road and the ruins of a house.

The report will be discussed at next week’s meeting of Highland Council’s north planning applications committee.

Melness Crofters Estate owns the land on the Moine Peninsula, south east of Tongue, and has agreed to HIE’s development of it once planning permission has been secured.

HIE and other private companies, including aerospace firm Orbex, have said the project would create more than 100 jobs.

The venture is opposed by some who live in the area. They have raised concerns about the spaceport’s impact on the environment.

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