A MEMBER of Shetland’s community safety and resilience board has been reassured that all appropriate measures will be in place should there be any emergency incidents at the proposed Shetland Space Centre in Unst.
The board heard on Wednesday that a multi-agency working group on contingency planning for the space centre currently meets every two months.
South mainland councillor Allison Duncan noted that there would be two boat crossings to Unst for mainland based services in case of any emergency.
Local fire chief Matt Mason moved to reassure Duncan, saying that the plan is to “resource the launches appropriately”.
The first satellite launches are expected to take place next year, although the project does not yet have planning permission.
Legislation around space launches in the UK is going through parliament and the sector is set to be governed by the Civil Aviation Authority.
Emergency planning officer Ingrid Gall said the idea is to use existing multi-agency response plans for airports – such as the one in place at Sumburgh – as reference points when working on something similar for the space centre.
In addition there is an expected surge in visitors to Unst to view the first launches.
“It’s how those visitors are managed, how they are supported there, how they are kept safe,” Gall added.
Mason said services are “really working hard to make sure it’s safe for those who are working and visiting” the site.
He said there should be “rigorous safety measures in place” in what will be a highly regulated industry.
He did say, however, that things were at an early stage of planning – but the fire chief did note that the emerging space sector was moving at “real pace”.
The Shetland Space Centre contingency planning working group consists of a range of members from the space team itself, the Civil Aviation Authority and the Air Accident Investigation Branch to Marine Scotland, the emergency services, the council and SEPA.
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 490 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News