Spaceport overcomes final hurdle to start work on historic £100m project

Work can finally begin on Shetland’s £100m space centre after ministers confirmed they had no intention to intervene.

The Scottish government told the SIC on Friday that it was able to approve the SaxaVord Spaceport as initially indicated last month.

Although the council previously confirmed it was “minded to approve” the application – Scottish ministers had 28 days to decide whether to “call it in”.

With that threat no longer looming over the project, work can now get under way.

Blasting work had already begun and shipments of stone chips arrived on site – but the team had been awaiting the government’s final go ahead before beginning the major work.

Over the next 18 months the team plans to spend £43m – rising to £100m over five years.

Despite planning delays, with approval taking almost 15 months, the first launch is still hoped to take place this year.

Once up and running, the spaceport will host up to 30 launches per year, supporting services including telecommunications, media, weather and defence.

It is hoped to create around 140 jobs in Unst and boost the island’s economy by almost £5m a year. It is expected to provide a further 210 jobs throughout Shetland.


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