Scolpaig: Spaceport plans in Outer Hebrides to continue following ministers' decision
Controversial plans to build a spaceport on North Uist will continue after the Scottish Government decided there is no need to examine the proposals further.
Comhairle nan Eilean Siar – the Western Isles Council – has proposed plans to build the facility at Scolpaig. The hub will be capable of vertical launching sub-orbital rockets, of which there is expected to be ten a year.
The planning application board unanimously granted permission a month ago before going to the Scottish Government for further scrutiny. It prompted a huge backlash from the local community and visitors to the island who demanded ministers “call in” the plans.
The application received some 244 objections, plus a petition with almost 1,000 signatures. Only six responses were in favour.
Concerns raised by objectors include the spaceport having a negative effect on the environment, landscape and tourism. But on Tuesday, ministers confirmed the council could continue with the process without further scrutiny needed.
A spokesman for the council said: "Prospective launch companies are already looking at working with local businesses and establishing an on-island presence to support launches in future years.
"Even at this early stage, it is acknowledged by the launch industry that Spaceport 1 – and the Outer Hebrides – has a critical role to play in the expansion of the Scottish and UK space sectors."
A Scottish Government spokesperson said ministers had “carefully considered the spaceport proposal at Scolpaig and have concluded there were no issues that warranted their involvement in this planning application”, adding: “It has been cleared back to Western Isles Council for future handling.”
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