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Spaceport Cornwall 'will not have big environmental impact'

Spaceport Cornwall 'will not have big environmental impact'

Published by Sarah Yeoman at 12:36pm 23rd January 2020.

Promises are going out to Cornwall that a spaceport will not have a big impact on overall greenhouse gas emissions in the Duchy.

Spaceport Cornwall, which will be based at Cornwall Airport Newquay, would be the UK's first horizontal launch spaceport used to launch small satellites into space.

Campaigners staged action outside a meeting in Redruth on Wednesday afternoon, calling for a 'positive change' to cut our carbon emissions.

They fear that the project is not environmentally friendly and goes against Cornwall Council's climate emergency declaration.

Now officials are reassuring people that efforts are still being made in combating climate change and that the spaceport will be balanced against its environmental impact.

Virgin Orbit spaceport satellites

Cornwall Council say a sustainability action plan will also be created to ensure any carbon emissions from a spaceport are more than offset.

It claims that the Duchy has an opportunity to 'take a global lead in more sustainable launch, and challenge the rest of the industry to do the same.'

"Initiatives that have strong economic and social benefits have to be balanced against their impact on the environment and our commitment to tackle climate change.  The Spaceport project falls into this category. 

"An independent scientific study by a leading energy and environment specialist at the University of Exeter has said that the proposed horizontal launch Spaceport at Cornwall Airport Newquay is not expected to impact significantly on Cornwall's overall greenhouse gas emissions and efforts in combatting climate change.  

"Further studies will create a Spaceport Sustainability Action Plan and a full Environmental Impact Assessment. The intention is to ensure that any carbon emissions from a spaceport are more than offset. In time, satellite launch operators such as Virgin Orbit will be required to meet the carbon costs of operations through their launch fees, in line with the Council's vision to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. 

spaceport - virgin orbit

"Cornwall has an opportunity to take a global lead in more sustainable launch, and challenge the rest of the industry to do the same. Leading the way in satellite based technology can help us worldwide by allowing us to collect data and explore the impacts of climate change from space. This information has global benefits in helping to manage the earth's resources more wisely.  It will also help existing industries become more efficient.

"Investing in public transport and in cycling and walking routes is hugely important to Cornwall Council.  We are already investing in new bus services which are set to improve further from April 2020 when a new package of supported services is introduced with improved frequencies and routes, reduced fares for passengers, better links with rail, integrated school transport services and more environmentally friendly buses.  We're also investing in a range of cycle and walking routes like the Saints Trails to better link communities and encourage people out of their cars. 

"The Council's investment into Spaceport Cornwall is additional capital funding and does not negatively impact the service delivery of any other service."

Cornwall Council

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