Prestwick Spaceport Files Environmental Screening Report
Prestwick Spaceport was pleased to submit its Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Screening Report to South Ayrshire Council (SAC) and Glasgow Prestwick Airport earlier this week.
As part of the planning application process for the Spaceport, detailed information must be submitted to confirm that the proposed development would not result in significant adverse effects to the environment. The purpose of the EIA Screening Report, which will be made publicly accessible, is to request an Environmental Impact Assessment Screening Opinion from SAC, as planning authority, to determine whether the environmental information to be provided will be subject to the Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2017.
Prestwick Spaceport’s method of launch – where an aircraft takes off carrying a launch vehicle or “rocket” – is part of the region’s plans to lead Europe in launching small satellite technology into orbit. A common use for small satellites and ‘cubesats’ is to collect imagery and sensory data to explore the impacts of climate change from space, as well as tracking deforestation, illegal fishing, soil erosion, endangered species migration, forest fires and supporting response efforts to natural disasters, protecting shipping lanes and much more.
The city of Glasgow builds more small satellites than anywhere else in the world outside California and Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh, is positioned as the Space Data Capital of Europe. Prestwick Spaceport can provide the missing launch link in the value chain, creating high-skilled jobs, inspiring young people and supporting a broad range of ancillary activity beyond launch that will boost the local economy and supply chains, from transport and logistics to engineering, catering and hospitality.
The Spaceport has set its sight on first launch by the end of 2023 and was boosted earlier this year by the signing of the Ayrshire Growth Deal, a partnership being driven forward by the Scottish Government, the UK Government and East, North and South Ayrshire Councils. It is anticipated that the development, together with the many opportunities beyond launch, such as supply chain activity in space and aerospace, could create up to 4,000 related jobs in the region. The project will also offer opportunities for local communities in the surrounding areas, such as working with schools to inspire young people to consider a career in the space industry and colleges to help facilitate routes into the space sector.
The UK Space Agency has set a target of increasing the UK’s global market share of the space sector to 10% by 2030 and, as part of that ambition, developing the conditions for commercial spaceflight to thrive in the UK. Prestwick Spaceport has an opportunity to play a leading role in European launch activity, helping the wider UK sector to secure its target market share and providing access to orbit from the UK for the first time in history.