To Bucks and be­yond....

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS -

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.­ter­est­ing-stuff/ re­search- re­ports.

Con­struc­tion work is due to com­mence in early 2018.

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