Cornwall council voted 66 to 34 in favour of funding despite Extinction Rebellion protests
The proposed spaceport at Newquay Airport in Cornwall has moved on to its next stage this week as Cornwall Council approved funding of just over £10m for the project. This is on top of a £7m funding package from the UK Space Agency and another £2.5m from Virgin Orbit.
The proposed funding from Cornwall Council was originally supported by the Council Cabinet at a recent meeting and yesterday approved by just over 60% of the vote at a full council meeting despite numerous protests and spoken objections during the meeting.
The climate change action group, Extinction Rebellion, staged a protest outside the council building prior to the meeting and then took over the public gallery protesting against the spaceport plans in light of Cornwall Council’s commitment to declaring a climate emergency.
Some local news outlets reported scenes of chaos as the protestors started throwing paper aeroplanes into the chamber. Although the protest was overall very peaceful.
The concerns raised by those protesting were mostly around the money itself at a time when the council is badly in debt and also that it had promised to focus funds and energy into tackling climate change, which protestors suggested this money would be better spent doing.
There was also a considerable objection to council funds benefitting billionaire businessman, Richard Branson, as his Virgin Orbit business will be the primary launch operator at the proposed spaceport.