Rocket-fueled row on cards

Just when memories had faded of the 1957 comedy film of Compton Makenzie's Rockets Galore! comes a report that rockets could be launched from a space base on a remote peninsula in the north west of Scotland.

The wild beauty of Sutherland
The wild beauty of Sutherland

The A’Mhoine Peninsula, between Cape Wrath and Dounreay, has apparently been identified as the most suitable site in Britain for launching rockets carrying satellites into space. A proposal has been submitted to the UK Space Agency with the backing of Highlands and Islands Enterprise. Already there is talk of big economic benefits, of more than £1 billion over a decade.

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However, it is not only satellites that may go up like a rocket. After years struggling to encourage eagles to return, how would a space rocket launcher go down with our national bird?

For nature campaign groups, this would light the touch paper for an almighty row. Their preference may well be for the board of HIE to be the first passengers – to a distant planet with no return.

HIE will have a fight on its hands balancing the prospect of a rocket-related economic boom with preserving the area’s unspoilt beauty.