Plans for the world’s first carbon-neutral spaceport in the Highlands have been given the go-ahead by a judge.
The Scottish Land Court approved a change in land use to allow Space Hub Sutherland to be built on Melness Crofters’ Estate, whilst remaining working croft land.
It comes after a legal bid by billionaires Anders and Anne Holch Povlsen’s to overturn planning permission for the facility was rejected last month.
The site is now on track to be the UK’s first space port, and would see an inaugural space flight launching from land on the Melness Crofters’ Estate in 2022.
On Tuesday, the result was hailed by Melness Crofters’ Estate (MCE), a voluntary committee of local crofters who own the land and support the proposed £17.5m development.
MCE chair Dorothy Pritchard, said: “This is fantastic news for the long-term future of our community, and we welcome this decision from the Land Court today to grant the change in land use.
“It’s all systems go now for building the Space Hub, and we look forward to working with Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Orbex in the coming weeks and months ahead.”
The announcement was also welcomed by Liberal Democrat MP Jamie Stone.
“Just like the rockets that will soon be launched from Sutherland, I am absolutely over the moon!” he said.
“In a fit of enthusiasm I previously promised MP colleagues in the House of Commons a dram when the first rocket takes off. Given there are 649 of them, this could prove the most expensive promise of my life.
“The space hub has the power not only to provide high-quality employment in Sutherland, but to bridge political differences.
“I hope that the Prime Minister will visit us to view the first launch and join me in celebrating the fact that Sutherland is leading the way.”