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Protestors to gather at Spaceport Cornwall meeting

Protestors to gather at Spaceport Cornwall meeting

Published by Emma Carton at 8:07am 26th November 2019. (Updated at 8:13am 26th November 2019)

Written by Local Democracy Reporter, Richard Whitehouse

Protesters are set to gather outside County Hall on Tuesday ahead of a crunch meeting on whether funding will be granted to Spaceport Cornwall.

All 123 councillors are due to meet in the council chamber in Truro on Tuesday morning for full council where a recommendation has been made to support granting £10.3 million to Spaceport Cornwall.

But with controversy over claims that the spaceport plans contradict the council’s declaration of a climate emergency there will be protests ahead of the meeting.

When the funding plans went to the Cabinet at the council earlier this year there was a split, with some members unable to support the plans.

Spaceport Cornwall is proposed to create the first horizontal space launch facility in the UK.

It will be used to launch small satellites into space using existing aircraft technology to take them into the sky before they are launched from specialist equipment under the wing of the aircraft.

spaceport - virgin orbit
Protestors are set to gather at a crucial funding meeting for that Spaceport for Cornwall. Photo: Virgin Orbit

Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Orbit has signed an agreement with Spaceport Cornwall which would see it launching its European operations from the spaceport which is at Cornwall Airport Newquay.

The council has claimed that this will help to create hundreds of jobs which are well paid and highly skilled and will also boost the economy.

And supporters argue that there are already space industry companies in Cornwall - including Goonhilly - which will continue to expand and provide benefits to Cornwall.

However opponents say the proposals are not environmentally friendly and also suggest that Sir Richard should foot the bill himself.

The £10.3m from Cornwall Council is part of a £20m package for the spaceport which also includes £7m from the UK Space Agency and £2.5m from Virgin Orbit.

spaceport
Campaigners say pumping £10.3m into a Spaceport for Cornwall goes against the council's declaration of a climate emergency. Photo: Virgin Orbit

Tuesday's council meeting will also see discussions on whether the voting age should be lowered to 16 and whether carers should be entitled to concessionary bus passes.

The council will also consider reports on the capital programme which includes a recommendation to increase it by £6.5m.

And councillors will be asked to approve a decision by the Cabinet to spend £14.54m on projects including Liskeard Cattle Market regeneration, Penzance Creative Cluster and Hayle Renewables Business Park.

The council will meet at 10.30am on Tuesday (Nov 26th) at County Hall. 

The meeting will not be live webcast due to the election but will be recorded and uploaded for viewing after the election.

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