Crofters sup­port space­port plan

Western Mail - - UK&WORLD NEWS -

PLANS to es­tab­lish the UK’s first space­port in the north of Scot­land have been given ini­tial back­ing by crofters on the pro­posed land.

The A’Mhoine penin­sula in Suther­land was cho­sen by the UK Space Agency ear­lier this year as the site for ver­ti­cal rocket and satel­lite launches.

Mel­ness Crofters Es­tate (MCE), who own the prospec­tive launch site, held a bal­lot of crofters this week, with 59% vot­ing in favour of work­ing with High­lands and Is­lands En­ter­prise (HIE) on the project.

In to­tal, there were 27 votes in favour, 18 against and one spoiled bal­lot pa­per.

HIE said the out­come means the £17.3m project can now move to the next phase fo­cus­ing on safety and en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues.

A for­mal plan­ning ap­pli­ca­tion is ex­pected to be sub­mit­ted to High­land Coun­cil by the end of 2019.

MCE chair­man Dorothy Pritchard said crofters still want to see the en­vi­ron­men­tal im­pact kept to a min­i­mum.

She said: “We are happy to con­tinue dis­cus­sions with HIE, work to­wards a con­clu­sion on the heads of terms and ul­ti­mately the land lease.”

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