Councillors launch move to make Moray #1 space choice

Pressure mounts to make Moray the choice for space launches

A motion being tabled to Councillors will call for local authority officers giving a high priority to support moves that would secure the UK Spaceport for Moray.

Earlier this month the UK Government revealed that a short-list of eight sites in the UK were being considered as a home for a new spaceport – two of them in Moray, at Kinloss Barracks and RAF Lossiemouth.

Now local politicians are taking the first steps to ensure that maximum support is given to any campaigns that back either of the Moray sites, with the importance of the selection for development and tourism around the ultimate choice high on any agenda.

The motion being put forward by Councillor’s Graham Leadbitter and Gary Coull to the Council’s economic development and infrastructure committee highlights a ‘lukewarm’ response in Moray to previous suggestions over the creation of a spaceport.

Meanwhile local MP Angus Robertson has tabled a motion at Westminster recognising the economic benefit that development of the space technology sector would bring – and calling on the UK Government to work with Moray Council, the Scottish Government and other agencies to maximise the opportunities presented.

Councillor Leadbitter said: “The prospect of a spaceport in Moray is not new but the support for it has, in the past, been lukewarm, with many not grasping the potential of such a development for Moray.

“I am urging Moray Councillors to grasp the thistle on this issue and give it the priority it deserves.

“It is unacceptable to think it will never happen. We have to work as hard as possible to make it happen.”

Seconding the motion, Keith councillor Gary Coull added that spaceport development would bring a “significant boost” to the wider tourism economy by attracting space enthusiasts to the region from around the world, adding: “The spin-offs from that could be extremely significant and we need to put every effort in to make it happen.”

Angus Robertson MP added: “Having two sites in Moray on the shortlist for a spaceport should focus people’s minds on the possibilities that exist from space technology development.

“It is critical that the public sector from Whitehall through to Local Government and other agencies such as HIE are doing all they can to make progress in spaceport development.”

Earlier Labour councillor Sean Morton called on the formation of a Moray Taskforce, pointing out that securing the spaceport for the region had much the same if not greater significance as the retention of RAF Lossiemouth had when the base came under threat of closure in 2011.

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