A second round of Uist spaceport public consultations is to take place following the submission of further environmental information.
The month-long consultation will run until Sunday, March 5, with members of the public able to access the latest environmental submission on the Council’s planning portal.
Access to hard copies is also available at the Comhairle’s Balivanich offices between 9 am and 5 pm, Monday to Friday. And can also be viewed between 9 am and 7 pm at Hosta Hall today (Saturday, February 4) and on Thursday, February 9 to Saturday, February 11, Monday, February 13 to Saturday, February 18, and from Thursday, March 2 to Saturday, March 4.
The spaceport near Scolpaig, Balemartin, is being proposed by a spaceport consortium led by the Comhairle, which is also the landowner and the planning authority.
The proposal involves the construction of a sub-orbital vertical launch spaceport that includes an access road, fencing, a launch pad with a demountable launch tower, and water and liquid storage tanks with associated services and infrastructure.
Planning permission is also being sought to repair and use a former farm building for storage, water pumps and communications facility, stabilise a derelict former farm building, upgrade an existing farm track and water crossing, vehicle parking and periodic intermittent siting of storage containers.
A total of 287 documents have now been lodged in relation to the spaceport’s bid to obtain planning permission.
A community group, the Friends of Scolpaig, are opposed to the space development and last year challenged the Comhairle over its handling of the planning application and how the voluminous amount of information had been presented to the public. The documentation has now almost doubled since they voiced their concerns last year.
Friends of Scolpaig were also critical of the spaceport consortium after it emerged in March 2022 that a London consultancy firm working with the consortium had a Russian team based in Moscow that is heavily involved in the Russian space industry.
The revelation involving Commercial Space Technologies Ltd. was another twist in the long-running effort to get a launchpad on the ground in North Uist.
Angus MacNab, a retired civil engineer and a member of Friends of Scolpaig, said at the time: “A recent and potentially significant complication for CnES is that one of their consortium members, Commercial Space Technologies Ltd. (CST), who provide launch brokerage, management and consultancy services, has significant interests in the Russian space industry with an office in Moscow, and one of its directors is based there.
“Given current developments in the Russian invasion of Ukraine, this is likely to significantly compromise not only CST themselves, in any operations in the UK, but also as a consequence CnES.”
In 2020, the Scottish government said they would ‘reserve the right to intervene’ in the planning process.