A potential hurdle to the creation of Prestwick Spaceport, and more than 4000 new jobs, has been removed.

This week it was revealed that there will be no need for an in-depth environmental survey as part of a planning application.

The news comes as Prestwick Aerospace made the bold claim that Ayrshire would be home to Europe’s leading spaceport, providing ‘micro gravity flights, satellite launches, human space flight and hypersonic flights’ in less than 15 years.

The development, one of the pillars of the Ayrshire Growth Deal, expects the first commercial rockets to be launched by the end of 2023, providing it is licensed.

The company was required to submit a screening report to South Ayrshire Council, so they could determine whether the construction of the facility would be likely to affect the environment and require a more in-depth assessment.

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Council planners have now confirmed that they will not require an Environmental Impact Assessment, making the route to planning approval simpler.

A council spokesperson said: “The council’s planning service has commented on the screening report for the proposed spaceport at Glasgow Prestwick Airport: “The council concludes that the proposed development at, Glasgow Prestwick Airport, is not likely to result in effects on the environment that are sufficiently significant to require the submission of an environmental impact assessment.”

The spaceport developers say it is “on track to become the continent’s leading space hub” as it steps up its marketing and operational efforts, whilst moving forward with launch partner discussions..

It is now setting out to create an ‘unrivalled’ space supply-chain network, thanks to access by road, rail, sea and air.

A milestone is expected to be reached in the near future, with confirmation of its first partnership with a launch provider, which would make Prestwick its international base, with the first commercial rocket launches taking place from autumn 2023.

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Mick O’Connor, programme director of Prestwick Spaceport said: “To date we have largely flown under the radar, making sure we put the spaceport in the best possible position to deliver its immense potential.

“Now feels like the right time to truly set out our stall. Prestwick Spaceport’s novel launch solution should excite people, whether they are local or within the space sector.

“So much is in our favour. We feel the Spaceport can define the economy locally as well as put the UK at the forefront of commercial space launch globally.

“Not only are we planning for spaceflight capability for 2023, but we are also building the commercial infrastructure to support it, as well as manufacturing and significant supply chain capability, all of which will build on Prestwick’s long-established heritage within aerospace and aviation.”

The developers anticipate investment that will create more than 4000 new jobs while ‘positioning Scotland as a key player in the increasingly competitive global space race’.

Copy supplied by the Local Democracy Reporting Service.