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Highland Council officers recommend that Sutherland spaceport plan be approved when councillors vote on it; move is welcomed by Highland MSP Edward Mountain and Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross MP Jamie Stone

By Philip Murray

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HIGHLAND politicians have hailed news which could put the far north at the cutting edge of space technology.

Highland Council planning officers have recommended that councillors approve a planning application by Highlands and Islands Enterprise for a spaceport in the far north of Sutherland.

If the local authority's councillors back their officers then it could mark a major step forward in plans to transform part of the isolated A' Mhoine peninsula – which sits between Loch Eriboll and the Kyle of Tongue – into a space hub capable of launching satellites into orbit.

Highland list MSP Edward Mountain said: “I welcome the recommendation today from Highland Council planning officers to grant planning permission for the Sutherland spaceport.

"The spaceport is a huge opportunity for the region and will create jobs across the Highlands.”

Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross MSP Jamie Stone has also welcomed the news, which he hailed as "fantastic".

Taking to Twitter he also retweeted the reaction from one member of the public who said: "For those of us who live in Caithness and North Sutherland who watch our adult children leave the area because there are no jobs, yes it is [good news]."

To which Mr Stone added that the comment was "why I back the spaceport in a nutshell".

Recommending approval, council officers said the number of launches should be limited to around a dozen a year, which would reduce the amount of metal and plastic debris falling into the sea from the rockets.

This would result in around seven tonnes of metal alloy and five tonnes of carbon fibre being lost to the waves every year.

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