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Crofters over the moon with spaceport, insists MP Stone

By Matt Leslie

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How the proposed spaceport site would look.
How the proposed spaceport site would look.

North MP Jamie Stone says crofters in north Sutherland have given their full backing for the planned spaceport.

The construction – proposed for the A'Mhoine site, near Tongue – was announced in 2018.

It brought with the prospect of hundreds of jobs being created within the area, with the space-flight market seen as potentially being worth £3.8 billion to the UK economy over the next decade.

However, doubts have emerged in the past year over the employment and financial benefits the spaceport would bring.

In a House of Commons debate, Mr Stone – who has been appointed vice-chairman of the Space All-Party Parliamentary Group – quizzed science minister Amanda Solloway about the UK Government's commitment to the spaceport.

He said: "Local crofters in Melness support the proposal to establish a vertical space launch facility in Sutherland, and they have written to the Prime Minister to tell him that.

How amazing for budding scientists and astronauts in our corner of the world to have a spaceport on their doorstep.

"Does the secretary of state agree that that would be good for the local economy and that the UK has a huge opportunity in terms of launching satellites for other countries that do not have launch facilities?"

Ms Solloway replied: "We have united departments across government to develop a UK space strategy, which will help the UK lead the way in this fast-growing area and create thousands of jobs across the country.

"Our space strategy will support cutting-edge space science and technologies and foster world-leading British innovation."

Speaking after the exchange, Mr Stone commented: "The Melness Crofters' Estate is doing a fantastic job of standing up for local people and the needs of our community.

"Having a spaceport in Sutherland will create new highly skilled job opportunities and give a boost to the local economy. How amazing for budding scientists and astronauts in our corner of the world to have a spaceport on their doorstep.

"The UK needs a new space strategy now and Sutherland should be leading the way. I shall continue to raise the profile of our spaceport at the highest levels of government."

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