To Bucks and beyond....
THE UK Space Agency is investing £4.12million in a new facility in Bucks to test space technology.
Last week, The UK Space Agency announced it is building the National Propulsion Test Facility at Westcott, near Aylesbury, giving the UK a new facility for space technology testing.
The facility will allow UK companies and academia to test and develop space propulsion engines.
The planned facility will be based at Westcott Venture Park with its strong history of rocketry research for defence and space development, building on existing facilities.
Chief executive of Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership Richard Harrington said: “We’re delighted with the announcement, which will not only help facilitate growth in the Buckinghamshire economy but also establish a global centre of excellence in space technology testing.
“In addition, with the UK Space agency, we’re looking to develop the research capacity at the site, including a Satellite Application Catapult and a 5G Innovation test facility, which together will help support a growing number of new jobs and business investment opportunities to the Buckinghamshire area.”
Leader of Buckinghamshire County Council Martin Tett said: “This is fantastic news for Buckinghamshire. Being host to this leading edge sector is great for our local economy, and great for our global reputation.
“It reinforces the value of Enterprise Zone status and demonstrates the opportunity this provides for our skilled workforce.”
Interim CEO of the UK Space Agency Katherine Courtney said “Our investment in a National Space Propulsion Facility will add several new capabilities to the UK space sector and build upon what is already a world-class UK space propulsion sector.
“Opening these facilities up to UK companies and academia will allow them to develop and test future propulsion engines.
“We hope this will develop the UK’s competitive edge in space propulsion and produce the next generation of propulsion engines.
“We hope that UK companies will continue to make successful contributions to international missions, such as the LEROS 1b engine involved in JUNO.”
The new capability will allow cost-effective development and testing of even more impressive engines for interplanetary travel, as well as for the significant commercial telecommunications satellite market.
Buckinghamshire Thames Valley Local Enterprise Partnership (BTVLEP) announced approval for the A355 improvements scheme at a board meeting recently, with Bucks County Council (BCC) classifying the A355 Amersham to Beaconsfield as a ‘priority congestion management corridor’.
More than £6 million of funding for it has been allocated by BTVLEP and the scheme is closely associated with the 350home Wilton Park development.
The plans will see a new road built alongside the current A355, which connects Slough to Amersham north via Beaconsfield and Farnham Common, to ease congestion in Beaconsfield Old Town.
Richard Harrington, chief executive of BTVLEP, said: “We are pleased to grant business case approval for the A355 scheme, which aims to improve the resilience and performance of Buckinghamshire’s local highway network, and enhance strategic north/ south connectivity for the county. Without these necessary improvements to road infrastructure, there is a risk that the county could be put at a disadvantage in terms of transport access across the county and the knock-on effects to economic growth.”
Mark Shaw, BCC cabinet member for transport, said: and strong road.
“We only get one crack at a major scheme like this, and we want to make sure we get it right, which is why we’ve listened to local groups who have good local knowledge that can help us avoid expensive errors. I’m really pleased they’ve been keen to be involved in our journey towards building the new road.”
Ralph Bagge, leader of SBDC, said: “This new section of road will improve the flow of traffic “I know residents businesses have views about this heading north/south through Beaconsfield and should relieve the congestion on London End, particularly in the evening peak.
“I am confident the long-awaited relief road should improve the quality of life for many South Bucks residents.”
A number of measures are proposed and a copy of the full Option Assessment Report can be found at www.buckstvlep. co.uk/interesting-stuff/ research- reports.
Construction work is due to commence in early 2018.