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Sutherland Spaceport changes to be laid out at public consultation events in Tongue

By Caroline McMorran

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Orbex has released further details of the community consultation meetings it is holding on proposed changes to Sutherland Spaceport.

An artist's impression of a rocket launch from Sutherland Spaceport. Picture: Orbex
An artist's impression of a rocket launch from Sutherland Spaceport. Picture: Orbex

Full planning consent was granted in August 2020 for the construction of Sutherland Spaceport at the A’Mhone peninsula, west of Tongue.

However Orbex, which is building and will operate the spaceport, is now seeking changes to its design and layout.

The space company submitted a Proposal of Application Notice (PoAN) to Highland Council on November 2.

It is seeking to relocate the spaceport’s antenna park from A’Mhoine to an area adjacent to existing telecommunications infrastructure on the summit of Ben Tongue.

In addition Orbex wants to reduce the size of the launch pad area, decrease the area of the access track that connects the launch pad to other parts of the spaceport and adjust the footprint and height of the Launch Site Integration Facility.

A company spokesperson said: “These changes will make the building footprint smaller, resulting in less peat disturbance and less impact to the groundwater ecosystem.

“The visual impact of the site will also be reduced and there will be less disturbance to local watercourses, with mammal migration routes widened to better preserve the natural environment.

“The proposed changes should also result in a shorter construction period and fewer vehicle movements.”

The two public consultation sessions will be held in the Ben Loyal Hotel, Tongue, on Tuesday, December 5, and on Thursday, January 18, from noon-2pm and 5pm-8pm.

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