Space Hub Sutherland given the green light: countdown to UK Pathfinder

23rd Sep 2021

Space Hub Sutherland, with Orbex Space as its main resident, has cleared legal issues with judicial reviews initiated by Anders Holch Povlsen. Now, the facility is getting ready for the UK Pathfinder initiative.

Space Hub Sutherland to be built on crofting land

Space Hub Sutherland, currently occupied by Orbex Space, has cleared a major legal hurdle recently as a Scottish Land Court judge ruled in favour of approving the use of crofting land for spacecraft launches. When the plans to transform the land into a launch base came about, many croft tenants and owners rose in protest. Their major worries were the loss of potential profits from agricultural land and grazing ground for sheep. The court has decided in favour of Orbex, but with the caveat that the land around the launch pad and hangars must remain available to crofters for agricultural use.

Billionaires Anne and Anders Holch Povlsen, who own land near the hangar and spaceport site, raised a legal challenge against the construction of the spaceport. Their issues were over the environmental impact on protected areas. The judge who ruled in favour of Orbex said he was “not persuaded” by that argument.

Sutherland spaceport to create meaningful employment opportunities

Despite this slight struggle with the law, a representative of Melness Crofters’ Estate said, “Our vision from day one has been to create opportunities for the local community while minimising disruption to our landscape here in Sutherland.”

The new Space Hub Sutherland was expected to open the way for hundreds of jobs for the community as well as help further the UK’s space agenda. Space Hub Sutherland is the only UK spaceport that has planning permission. Following the favourable court ruling, the UK Pathfinder launch seems to be on schedule.

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