A new Modern Transport Bill to place Britain at the forefront of the modern transport was announced in the Queen's Speech today. By legislating to enable the future development of the UK’s first commercial spaceports, the Government aims to create new jobs and fuel economic growth around the UK. It follows a 2014–15 public consultation on selecting a site.
The Government has shortlisted six sites, including Newquay Cornwall Airport. The Government is set to invite the shortlisted sites to present detailed spaceport design proposals. The Government hopes to see a spaceport in place by 2020. It is hoped the initiative will provide up to 100,000 jobs. The intention is to facilitate launching commercial satellites and even tourist flights into space, and by 2030 for the UK to have a 10% share of the global space market.
Richard Guyatt, partner at Bond Dickinson said:"New legislation promises to open up the exciting possibility of commercial spaceflight from the UK. Consent for a spaceport will require careful assessment of the many environmental impacts of a spaceport and a viable business case for commercial space operations. The proposal for consent may be considered under the Planning Act 2008, with the scheme directed into the NSIP regime by the Secretary of State.
The potential noise impacts will be a vital consideration and some form of Parliamentary authority is needed to allow the scheme to operate, to give the operator protection from nuisance claims. Using the 2008 Act regime can provide this but it will mean the developer will have to actively engage in meaningful local consultation and will no doubt wish to show significant local benefits for employment and the economy that a spaceport will bring."