Spaceport Sutherland

Spaceport Sutherland, is planned to be the first spaceport in the United Kingdom and will allow the vertical launch of small satellites into orbit from a site at Melness in Sutherland. The site includes a launch area, Launch Site Integration Facility and Launch Operations Control Centre and is accessed directly from the A838. The first flights are expected to commence in the early 2020s.

What we are doing

Pell Frischmann’s Transport Planning Team in Edinburgh has led the offsite transport and access elements of the projects, working with Ramboll who were responsible for the wider Environmental Impact Assessment. Pell Frischmann undertook the Transport Assessment and the EIA Transport Chapter covering both the construction and operational phases of the project. This required careful consideration of the access routes to the site and the potential for traffic impacts arising on rural roads that make up the scenic NC500 route around the north coast of Scotland.

Developing traffic flow estimates for a vertical launch site was particularly complex and required careful consideration of the number of traffic movements associated with the launch vehicles, their support teams and how many spectators would come to view launch days.

Outcomes so far

The planning application was considered by The Highland Council in late 2020 and was granted planning approval. The transport and access arrangements were a key consideration in the Council making its recommendation to approve.

Pell Frischmann’s Project Director, Gordon Buchan:

Working with Ramboll, we have provided a robust assessment of the likely impacts that would arise with this unique development. The Transport Assessment is unique within the northern hemisphere and required extremely careful consideration. We have developed a range of transport interventions that will help minimise the impact during construction and operation and look forward to the first flight.


We’d love to hear from you!

To find out more about Spaceport Sutherland, please contact us through our form here.


  • icon-arrow Up to 12 launches a year
  • icon-arrow Providing the opportunity to launch small satellites into orbit for uses including Earth observation within two years
  • icon-arrow The project will directly create 61 jobs in Sutherland and Caithness, as part of a total 250 jobs that it is expected to generate across the Highlands and Islands
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