Argyll and Bute Council agrees next steps in bringing Spaceport to the area

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Published Date: 

11 Aug 2016 - 14:10

Argyll and Bute Council is to take the case for making Machrihanish the site for the UK’s first Spaceport to the Scottish and UK Governments.

At its meeting today, Thursday, 11 August 2016, the Environment, Development and Infrastructure Committee agreed that the Council would write to the UK Government to continue to promote the site in Kintyre - with elected members agreeing to lobby for the same outcome.

In addition, the Committee agreed that the Council would also call on the Scottish Government to declare the Machrihanish Community Airbase an Enterprise Area for UK Spaceport and Aviation Activity – facilitating the growth of the space and aviation industry on the site. The Council is also exploring the possibility of using the Enterprise Area for renewables and aquaculture, creating significant employment.

The Committee was updated on progress being made on the bid for a licence to proceed with Campbeltown as the best location for the Spaceport. The consortium of the Council, Discover Space UK and Highlands and Islands Enterprise has developed networks through attendance at national forums and meeting with UK and global aerospace industry leaders.  

Councillor Dick Walsh, Leader of Argyll and Bute Council, said: “Establishing the UK’s first Spaceport in Kintyre would be of huge benefit to the local and national economy bringing skilled jobs, opportunities for hi-tech supplies and services as well as a boost to tourism. The Council continues to work with Discover Space UK and Highlands and Islands Enterprise to bid for it to be based in here.

“Argyll and Bute Council is intent in embracing industries of the future and with the UK Space Industry creating up to 100,000 jobs by 2030 which represents 10% of the global industry workforce. Our focus as is to bring some of these jobs to the area, grow our economy and attract even more people to live and work here.

The site at the former airbase at the southern end of the Kintyre Peninsula – with only open sea to the west – is promoted by Argyll and Bute Council and Discover Space UK as the ideal location. It covers an area of over 1000 acres and boasts a 3km runway. The proposed Spaceport is situated well away from major centres of population and congested airspace.

Councillor Walsh concluded: “The industry is a rapidly growing one and it is envisaged will generate £19 billion by 2020 and £40 billion by 2030. We want this area to play a significant part in that.”