Queen's Speech & Cornwall: Space Industry Bill paves the way for Spaceport Cornwall + Brexit

Orbital Access Limited_s Orbital 500R satellite launcher

Queen’s Speech & Cornwall:

Space Industry Bill will further pave the way for Spaceport Cornwall

Orbital Access Limited’s Orbital 500R satellite launcher.jpg
Orbital 500R Satellite Launcher could operate from Newquay’s long runway

What did today’s  pared down Queen’s Speech mean for Cornwall?

Most of the upcoming parliamentary programme will necessarily have to give time over to Brexit. Of most importance to Cornwall today were mention of Farming & Fishing Bills to replace EU quotas, fishing grounds etc. Little detail has emerged so far but the need to “establish new national policies on immigration, international sanctions, nuclear safeguards, agriculture, and fisheries” was included but no details so far on how or how much it will cost.

Government plans to make the UK the most attractive place in Europe for commercial space flight have been welcomed by the Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), Newquay MP Steve Double and Cornwall’s tech and business community.

A new Space Industry Bill, announced as part of the Queen’s Speech, will introduce new powers to permit launches from British soil.

It will licence a range of new commercial spaceflight technologies, including spaceplanes and satellite launch systems, and create a regulatory framework for the safe operation of UK spaceports.

The LEP is leading a bid to create Spaceport Cornwall at Cornwall Airport Newquay as part of the Aerohub Enterprise Zone, which now includes Goonhilly Earth Station.

LEP director Gavin Poole, said: “At a time when the legislative programme has so many competing demands, it is hugely encouraging that the Space Industry Bill has been included, and is a measure of the Government’s high commitment to grow commercial space activity in the UK.

“We believe our offer in Cornwall is deliverable and compelling and we were delighted to confirm a few weeks ago that one of our commercial partners, Orbital Access, will be opening an office at Goonhilly later this year and collaborating in developing our spaceport ambitions.”

Steve Double, MP for St Austell and Newquay responded:


“Since becoming MP I have championed Cornwall Airport Newquay as the best location for the first UK Spaceport. This is an amazing opportunity for the investment and better paid jobs we need in mid-Cornwall. It is clear with our prime location, Aerohub Enterprise Zone, proximity to Goonhilly Earth Station and existing infrastructure that Newquay is the frontrunner. I am delighted to see this further legislation come forward in today’s Queen’s Speech and will continue to do all I can to work with the Government, LEP and space industry to bring the Spaceport to Cornwall.”

The Government aims to increase the UK’s share of the global space economy from the current 6.5% to 10% by 2030, and the commercial spaceflight market alone is expected to be worth some £25 billion over the next 20 years.

Spaceport Director Miles Carden, was delighted with today’s announcement:

miles carden

“We are determined that Cornwall will play an important role in the development of commercial space launch by offering safe and low-cost access to space from Newquay, with spacecraft tracking and communications facilities from Goonhilly.

“The next step in our Spaceport Cornwall bid will be presenting our plans to the UK Space Agency alongside our commercial partners, and we expect that to happen in a matter of weeks.”

Others bills of interest:
Another law will ban landlords or agents from charging fees to tenants seeking to rent properties and the Tories kept a law to cap energy bills from their manifesto.

The Liberal Democrats have vowed to oppose any attempts to weaken workplace rights, health and safety standards and environmental protections as part of the government’s Repeal Bill.

Liberal Democrat Brexit Spokesperson Tom Brake commented:

“Many Conservatives have made it clear they want to use Brexit to scrap our hard-won workplace rights and environmental standards.

“But protections for workers and our environment are not just red tape to be tossed on a bonfire.

“Nobody voted to diminish their rights, make themselves poorer or to make our country less safe”

Ministers are to consult on reforming the system of social care funding in England after Conservative plans were slammed as a Dementia Tax during the election.

Commenting, Shadow Health Secretary Norman Lamb said: “Social care is in a state of total crisis. A million older people are missing out on care they need and services face a funding black hole of billions in this year alone.

“Now they are simply kicking the issue into the long grass again with more consultation, after their deeply unfair Dementia Tax was clearly rejected by voters”.