SPACE Hub Sutherland, the world’s first carbon-neutral spaceport on A’ Mhoine peninsula, has been given the go-ahead by Lord Doherty after he ruled in a judicial review instigated by Danish ASOS billionaire Anders Povlsen.

It is now hoped the inaugural space flight from land on the Melness Crofters’ Estate could happen late next year.

In a 30-page decision, in which he said “none of the grounds of challenge is well founded”, the judge rejected every one brought by Wildland to block the development.

Chris Larmour, CEO of Orbex, the Scottish rocket company that will be launching 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.

“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.”

Melness Crofters’ Estate (MCE), is a voluntary committee of local crofters who own their own land and support the proposed £17.5 million development.

With a declining population and the decommissioning of the nearby former nuclear power site at Dounreay, it sees the spaceport project as an opportunity to secure the long term future of the community.

MCE is now awaiting the results of a Land Court hearing which, if positive, will see construction work will begin.

Chair of MCE, Dorothy Pritchard said: “This is a game-changing moment for the local community here in Sutherland.

“We have worked tirelessly with all the stakeholders involved over the last four years to consider every stage of this development.

“Our priority has always been to ensure the close-knit crofting community, its stunning landscape, and native wildlife are protected under a proposal that would make this the world’s first working croft land and carbon-neutral space hub.

“This decision unlocks investment in a project that will undoubtedly secure a long-term future for our community, creating new job opportunities for the younger generation while also attracting new people and investment to the area.”