Highlands and Islands Enterprise (HIE) said it will “step up” its engagement with people who live close to the site of a proposed spaceport in Sutherland.
Land on the Melness Crofters Estate (MCE) has been identified as the potential location for the launching of rockets carrying micro satellites.
MCE is set to work with HIE on the project following a ballot of crofters.
However, the spaceport is opposed by a campaign group set up by some crofters and non-crofting residents.
Protect The Mhoine has concerns about the spaceport having a negative impact on the environment and landscape, the exclusion zone’s boundary and how consultation on the project has been handled.
‘Unique and exciting’
Twenty seven of the votes cast in the MCE ballot were in favour of the estate working with HIE, and 18 were against. There was one spoiled ballot.
HIE said a planning application for the spaceport on the Moine peninsula could be submitted to Highland Council by the end of next year.
Roy Kirk, HIE’s project director said: “The creation of a satellite launch centre in Scotland is a unique and exciting project.
“We are very grateful to the Melness crofters for agreeing to work with us as we progress plans to make our vision a reality in Sutherland.
“We firmly believe that the spaceport will open up a host of new opportunities for businesses that want to become involved in the growing space sector.
“As part of our next steps, we’ll be stepping up our communications and making sure local people know what the spaceport is likely to mean for them.”
He added: “It’s understandable that people have concerns as well as hopes for such an innovative venture, and we will be making sure there are opportunities to meet and discuss all the issues, from jobs and other economic benefits, to safety and the environment.”