No Spaceport for North Uist

An illustration of how the Spaceport will look by the early 2020s.
An illustration of how the Spaceport will look by the early 2020s.

North Uist has lost out in the battle to secure the development of a new spaceport in northern Scotland.

A statement issued yesterday (Sunday) by the U.K. Government detailed that initial funding of £2.5 million will be given to Highlands and Islands Enterprise to begin development of a vertical launch site in Sutherland, between Tongue and Durness.

Vertical rocket and satellite launches in the A’Mhoine peninsula could pave the way for space flights.

The site was chosen as the best place in the UK to reach highly sought-after satellite orbits with vertically launched rockets.

The government also announced a new £2m development fund for horizontal launch spaceports across the UK at sites such as Prestwick in Ayrshire, Cornwall’s Newquay, Campbeltown in Argyll and Bute and Llanbedr, Gwynedd, Wales, subject to a successful business case.

Western Isle MP Angus MacNeil, talked about his disappointment that North Uist had lost out in the Spaceport plans.

Mr MacNeil had been involved in discussions on the proposal with the Scottish Government and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar earlier this year.

He said this morning: “It is ‘hugely disappointing’ that North Uist has missed out on selection as the site of the UK’s first spaceport.

“Uist is an ideal site due to its location and also because of the expertise and experience already in place at the Hebrides Range.”