The first-ever launch into space from British soil is now one step closer, with the government today (10 February 2021) publishing its environmental guidance for the spaceflight regulator.
A newly established consultation will also set out how the regulator, which will oversee all launch and space activity from the UK, should meet environmental objectives – helping ensure space travel fits into a modern, greener Britain.
The consultation, which will last for six weeks, forms part of the Space Industry Act 2018 and will pave the way for a range of commercial spaceflight and scientific endeavours to operate within the UK in the future.
As part of the government’s push to net-zero, access to space and the use of space-based technology will provide many environmental benefits. It will allow us to:
- observe weather patterns
- monitor climate change
- manage natural resources
- monitor harmful activities such as illegal deforestation, fishing and animal poaching
Transport Minister Rachel Maclean said:
The UK space sector has established technical expertise that already makes a significant contribution to global efforts to monitor and understand the Earth’s environment. By bringing spaceflight to UK soil, this expertise can be put to further good use, while benefitting the economy and jobs market.
The Space Industry Act requires applicants for a spaceport or launch operator licence to submit an assessment of environmental effects as part of their application – this will form part of any decision making when it comes to licence applications and conditions.
Science Minister Amanda Solloway said: