Shetland Space Centre Plans Should be Approved by Scottish Government

31st Mar 2021
Shetland Space Centre

Shetland space centre plans for construction permission will have to be approved by the Scottish government first. The latter asked Shetland Islands Council to notify them should they be willing to grant this permission. If this happens, the government will have 28 more days to consider this decision. While this direction does not imply submitting a formal application, it still means the Scottish government will have a chance to interfere and possibly downvote the UK spaceport construction in Shetland. 

Shetland space centre plans & delays

In general, the Scottish government is in favor of the UK spaceport construction in Shetland. The latest directive for the local council, issued on 5th March, explicitly states that the government is ready to assist in Shetland space centre plans for construction and infrastructure development. On the other hand, growing concerns from the local community force the government to treat it with caution. 

Currently, Shetland space centre plans have three applications waiting. The main one is a Lamba Ness satellite launch facility. This site aims to reuse the former Valhalla Brewery and build a road in its place. It’s exactly these Shetland space centre plans that caused public concern. Lamba Ness has a former RAF base, which happens to be a site of historical importance. Building a road in this area would call for a major redesign. 

On the other hand, as potentially the first UK spaceport, Shetland claims that their site layout has taken this peculiarity into account. At the same time, it mentions partial or complete loss of certain archeological features. 

In its turn, the Unst community has considered Shetland space centre plans and found no reason to object to the construction. Valid arguments in favor of building this UK spaceport include creating 140 new job prospects in Unst and 70 more jobs in Shetland. The first one should annually add at least £4.9 million to the island’s economy, while the second one should result in an additional £2.9 million gross value each year. 

On the whole, it looks like this UK spaceport will go ahead despite mild concerns and opposition. However, the Scottish government is determined to review Shetland space centre plans and estimates on environmental and archeological impact in the area. 

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