Ramboll environmental assessment helps Sutherland spaceport take off
A spaceport in Sutherland has been given the go-ahead by the Highland Council following the successful completion of an environmental impact assessment led by engineering and environmental consultancy Ramboll.
The site at Melness is on course to be available to launch small satellites typically used for Earth observation within two years. The project will directly create 61 jobs in Sutherland and Caithness, as part of a total 250 jobs that it is expected to generate across the Highlands and Islands.
The project is being developed by Highlands and Islands Enterprise with funding from the UK Space Agency and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.
Ramboll’s impact assessment team based in Edinburgh has led the environmental impact assessment (EIA) of the project and their risk and safety team based in Manchester led on risk and safety assurance aspects for the purposes of planning.
The EIA included detailed consideration of a range of issues and relied on technical expert inputs from a range of Ramboll specialists and project partners.
Ramboll’s project director, Maeve Fryday, said: “Gaining planning consent is the culmination of many years of work by the Space Hub Sutherland project team. Ramboll has been delighted to be part of this team and we have relished the challenges associated with completing the EIA of such an innovative development.
“Working with our partners, we have provided a robust assessment of the likely impacts that would arise with this unique development. The EIA has had to consider a wide range of issues across both the terrestrial and marine environments, and the nature of the development proposed has required us to handle technically complex information to determine the potential for environmental effects.
“It has been a challenging and complex project where detailed mitigation proposals have been fully informed by the environmental information generated in the EIA process.”
Ramboll’s risk & safety lead for the project, Rob Steer, said “I am delighted that the project has been granted planning approval and proud to be part of such a cutting edge, pioneering and strategically important project.
“All partners embraced the philosophy of managing risk beyond compliance from the outset and worked collaboratively to develop and implement many novel approaches for identifying, understanding, assessing and controlling risks. This philosophy will be embedded in the project going forward.”