Court ruling

Danish billionaire Povlsen loses battle to halt spaceport

Orbex Prime rocket

The Orbex rocket will be launched from a base in Sutherland

Danish billionaire and landowner Anders Povlsen has lost his attempt to stop a spaceport being built near his Scottish highland estate.

Mr Povlsen, listed as Scotland’s richest man, objected to plans to base the facility on the A’ Mhoine peninsula near Tongue which neighbours the Dane’s Kinloch Estate.

Following the Judicial Review, which Mr Povlsen instigated, the judge ruled against the petitioner on every count. 

Among 62 comments from the ruling, the judge said “none of the grounds of challenge is well founded” and ” I shall … repel the petitioner’s pleas-in-law, and refuse the petition”.

Mr Povlsen’s spokesman expressed disappointment, stating that they will consider what next steps may be taken and in the hope that “sense will eventually prevail”. 

Anders Povlsen: raised petition

Chris Larmour, CEO of Orbex, the Scottish rocket company that will be launching rockets from the site, said: “This is extremely positive news for a wide variety of communities and businesses and paves the way for the Pathfinder launch of small satellites from Sutherland Spaceport in Scotland.

“We’re especially pleased for the crofters of the Melness Crofters Estate, who will be able to protect and develop their community with modern jobs. Sutherland is still the only UK spaceport with planning permission and now, with this ruling, the countdown to space launch from the UK can begin.”

Mr Povlsen, who is the majority shareholder in the online fashion business ASOS, owns more than 200,000 acres of land across Scotland, including Glenfeshie in the Cairngorms, the Strathmore estate at Altnaharra, the 24,000-acre Ben Loyal and the 23,000-acre Ben Hope estate near Tongue.

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