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Chamber backs new laws to unlock space era for UK

Posted on March 15th, 2018

New laws that will unlock an exciting era of British space innovation, exploration and investment are set to get Royal Assent today, the Government announced this morning.

The Space Industry Bill will enable the first commercial space launch from UK soil, creating the potential for hundreds of highly-skilled jobs and bringing in billions of pounds for the economy, it said.

The passing of the Bill, the most modern piece of space industry legislation anywhere in the world, means British businesses will soon be able to compete in the commercial space race using UK spaceports. Britain is already a global hub for satellite manufacturing, operation and application development.

Access to space will allow companies to deploy satellites as well, making the UK a one-stop shop for satellites services and the best place in Europe to start and grow a space business.

Transport Minister Jo Johnson said: “Access to space is the final piece of the puzzle for the UK space sector and forms part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy – helping to drive growth across the country and unlocking hundreds of highly-skilled jobs in our regions.

“The Space Industry Bill gives companies the ability to launch satellites from UK soil, putting us at the forefront of the new space race and helping us to compete as the destination of choice for satellite companies worldwide.”

A quarter of all telecoms satellites are already substantially built in Britain and UK firms are at the forefront of hypersonic flight technology. Through its Industrial Strategy, the Government is working with the industry to increase its global share of the space sector from 6.5% to 10% by 2030.

UK spaceports will offer an opportunity to tap into the rapidly expanding launch market – worth an estimated £10bn over the next decade. Satellite services already support more than £250bn of UK GDP.

The Space Industry Bill will also create new opportunities for the UK’s business and scientific community to carry out cutting-edge research and inspire the next generation of British scientists and engineers.

Chris Hobson
Chris Hobson, Director of Policy at the Chamber, said: “This announcement by Government today reaffirms what the Chamber has been saying about making sure we have the skills in our workforce, regionally and nationally, to drive the fourth industrial revolution and to make sure we are world-leaders in innovation in a post-Brexit economy.

“Here in the East Midlands we have to start shouting about the skills we have in our existing workforce and to work with our world-leading universities to make sure we are producing the skills sets for the future so that we can always be at the cutting edge of space technology.

“The big danger from a regional perspective is that bulk of the investment in this new space age could be ploughed into the UK’s version of Silicon Valley, the area to the west of London through Berkshire and into Wiltshire, where many of the companies involved in this level of technology are based.

“But we have firms working in this sector in the East Midlands, we have the National Space Centre in Leicester, we have led much of this innovation and we should, working alongside partners such the Midlands Engine for Growth and our universities, be doing everything we can to make sure we capitalise on this very lucrative opportunity.”


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