Environmentalist Concerned About Seabirds in Shetland Space Centre Vicinity

30th Mar 2021
Environmentalist Concerned About Seabirds in Shetland Space Centre Vicinity

Environmentalists are concerned about local bird colonies in the vicinity of the Shetland Space Centre site. They have suggested that this UK spaceport does not carry out any launches during the breeding season. Otherwise, protected wildlife populations on Unst may dwindle. 

Shetland Space Centre Application Progress So Far

Right now, this UK spaceport application is still pending approval from the local council. Should the local authorities be minded to grant permission, they will have to notify the Scottish Ministry first. The latter reserves the right to interfere with the construction process. However, the Ministers announced that they are ready to provide all necessary support for Shetland Space Centre planning and construction. 

To date, three applications for Shetland Space Centre construction are pending approval. One launchpad should be located at Lamba Ness and aims to reuse the former Valhalla Brewery to build a new road. Just recently, an archeologist Val Turner voiced her concerns about this construction plan. The proposal implies a major redesign of the former RAF station that was of vital importance during WWII and is still of historical significance. 

Wildlife activists also voice their concerns about UK spaceport construction. Daniel Brazier, an operations manager at NatureScot, says that his organization will have to object to Shetland Space Centre unless the management meets environmental criteria. In particular, he states that neither launches nor static tests can be executed between mid-May and the end of June. This period is the breeding season for seabird colonies. Some of the most vital species include guillemot, fulmar, and kittiwake. 

However, just like Turner, Brazier does not object to the general idea of this UK spaceport construction. Both activists only point out the essential cultural and environmental conditions that have to be met in the final Shetland Space Centre application. 

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