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Supporters of Scottish Spaceport Sites Vow to Fight On

By Doug Messier
Parabolic Arc
March 9, 2015
Filed under ,
Credit: CAA

Credit: CAA

Supporters of two sites in northern Scotland eliminated from the competition to host the United Kingdom’s first spaceport have vowed to fight the decision.

Campaigners will seek private funding to bring a spaceport to Moray if the government does not budge on its decision to discount the region from its plans.

The pledge was made by councillors yesterday following Tuesday’s shock announcement that the Civil Aviation Authority had ruled both RAF Lossiemouth and Kinloss Barracks off a short list of possible sites.

The decision to bar the two bases due to their crucial role in national defence was met with dismay from local supporters , who had believed Kinloss base was a front-runner for selection.

At a meeting of Moray Council yesterday, members declared their ongoing backing for the scheme, and vowed to continue the fight to bring space travel to the area.

The Ministry of Defence requested that the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) eliminate Kinloss Barracks and RAF Lossiemouth from the competition. In a response to the government consultation on the issue, MOD wrote:

We have reviewed the facilities at the three military sites identified in the CAA report, as well as their current and future operational usage. None of the three locations meets the runway criteria, and due to overriding operational factors Kinloss Barracks and RAF Lossiemouth should be disregarded from further consideration.

RAF Leuchars will transition to the Army in 2015 but an active runway will remain under RAF control. The planned future use of Leuchars is likely to preclude it from becoming a permanent Spaceport; however, there may be a possibility that the site could be utilised as a temporary facility for a limited period of time if such a facility were deemed a requirement. It is not possible to give a definitive response on the suitability of Leuchars as a future Spaceport without significant additional information on what exactly would be required, and as the Department is not funded for spaceplane or spaceport activity then any changes to the infrastructure would have to be met from external funding.

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