Campbeltown Spaceport delegation touches down at Westminster

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Published Date: 

23 Jan 2017 - 14:31

Argyll and Bute’s case for locating the UK’s first spaceport near Campbeltown will touch down at Westminster tomorrow, Tuesday, 24th January. A delegation from the council and DiscoverSpace UK will attend a parliamentary reception hosted by the area’s local MP, Brendan O’Hara.

Leading players in the aerospace industry have been invited to the reception, along with all 650 MPs

They will hear about the proposal that the Kintyre site is the best location for the spaceport, and the progress being made on the bid for a licence by the consortium of Argyll and Bute Council and DiscoverSpace UK, supported by Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

Councillor Aileen Morton, Argyll and Bute Council’s Policy Lead for Sustainable Economic Growth, said:

“The consortium has been working hard lobbying and promoting the site.

“The parliamentary reception provides an opportunity to present the exciting and ambitious proposal to all the country’s MPs as well as leading aerospace industry representatives. They will be able to hear about all the benefits of siting the UK’s first spaceport in Argyll and Bute.

“We are intent on embracing industries of the future and with the UK Space Industry creating up to 100,000 jobs by 2030, our focus is on bringing some of these jobs to our area, growing our economy and attracting even more people to live and work here. With this rapidly growing industry estimated to generate £19billion by 2020, and £40billion by 2030, we want our area to have a significant role.

“We are grateful for the support of Brendan O’Hara MP in arranging this event.”

Tom Millar, Chairman of DiscoverSpace UK and Machrihanish Airbase Community Company said:

 “I am very grateful to Brendan for organising this reception and bringing representatives of the space industry together with DSUK and our partners.

“Our site offers enormous scope with a runway of more than 3,000 meters and large areas of land available for development, allied to a positive and supportive planning framework put in place by Argyll and Bute Council. Our safety case is very strong as the site is in a depopulated area and offers the ability to launch directly over the sea. The community of South Kintyre is behind our spaceport ambitions and I see these as part of our overall strategy to deliver long-term economic growth to the area.”

Brendan O’Hara, MP for Argyll and Bute added:

“To have the UK’s first spaceport in Kintyre is really a no-brainer and I am delighted to bring together MPs and industry experts, along with Argyll and Bute Council, DiscoverSpace UK and Highlands and Island’s Enterprise, so they can hear at first hand just what Kintyre has to offer.

“A spaceport would bring important economic benefits to Argyll and Bute and it is a hugely exciting prospect for Scotland to be at the forefront of space travel in the UK. The sky is not the limit”

The former RAF airbase at the southern end of the Kintyre Peninsula – with only open sea to the west – is the ideal location. The proposed spaceport covers an area of over 1000 acres, boasts the UK’s longest runway at over three kilometre runway and is well away from major centres of population and congested airspace.

Machrihanish Airbase has twice been approved for space flight and ahead of the launch of the NASA Space Shuttle in 1981 was a certified emergency landing site in Europe.

Following a buyout, the site is now owned by the local community through MACC, who have already unlocked some of the development potential of the site by attracting Scotland’s first on-shore salmon farm and a major international wind turbine producer.