Shetland can be ‘at the heart’ of UK space industry, says minister

Shetland can be "at the heart" of the space industry in the UK, a new Scotland Office minister has said. In his first engagements since being appointed by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, John Lamont visited the SaxaVord space port on Unst. He said: "The port is on track to launch satellites next year from one of its three orbital launch pads.

"There is a huge opportunity for Shetland to be a world leader in terms of space technology deployment - the spaceport at SaxaVord has unique geographical advantages that we are keen to help them exploit. "We're working hard to become the first in Europe to provide end-to-end solutions - from design and build to lift-off - for small satellites, and the development of different launch sites is a crucial part of that." "This is a very exciting project, and the wider space industry has huge potential to create rewarding and skilled careers, not just throughout Scotland but across the UK as a whole - Shetland can be at the heart of that."

Mr Lamont also visited the Scottish Sea Farms salmon fishery in Burra, and met representatives of the Scottish Shellfish Co-operative.

Shetland Islands Council convener Andrea Manson said she was "delighted" to host Mr Lamont on his first ministerial visit, adding they had discussed "fixed links and levelling up".

Mr Lamont said a repeated theme was that of connectivity during his visit.