ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners have hit out at Cornwall Council for supporting Spaceport Cornwall, saying it contradicts its work on climate change.

The council announced that it was looking to invest £12 million into the spaceport which will be used for horizontal small satellite launches.

It is part of a £20m package which was announced for the spaceport which will be based at Cornwall Airport Newquay and will be used by Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit company.

But environmentalists in Cornwall have slammed the council for supporting the project and say it goes against the authority declaring a climate emergency in January.

Nichola (corr) Andersen, of Grampound Road, said she had been working with the council to help promote the reduction of climate emissions and improve understanding about climate emergency.

She said she felt sick after hearing the spaceport announcement this week and has contacted council leader Julian German asking for an explanation.

In her email to Cllr German she stated: “I was taken aback and saddened to hear about the council’s and MP’s support for a Cornish ‘space port’ and would like to know how this can be justified when the council is launching an action plan for the climate emergency.

“To say this is a slap in the face for all of us who have been working with you for the past seven months is an understatement.

“I have been going out to parish councils and community network panels in my own time trying to help them understand the climate emergency and learn how to lower their local carbon footprint. This is difficult enough in Cornwall when we have an airport, and an incinerator, and now you are adding an un-necessary Space Port on to the Cornish carbon burden!

“Quite frankly, if you can make an announcement like this, I really wonder why I bothered giving up time with my kids, to have my/our efforts ignored like this.

“In Wales they announced that they are not proceeding with the extension of the M4 due to its carbon/environmental impact and this is exactly the kind of forward thinking, ballsy approach that we need in Cornwall.

“We have to transition to a green future – that certainly does not include any vanity project for Richard Branson. £12 million of Cornish tax payers’ money is being spent on ‘Cosmic Girl’, a misogynistic symbol of greed and utter complacency and foolishness.

“Please can you tell me how Cornwall Council can justify this expenditure, rather than spending £12m on an affordable, regular, community bus network for example?”

Speaking to the Local Democracy Reporting Service, Nichola said: “We feel that we have had the rug pulled from under us and we are really upset about this.

“We feel that money would be better spent on climate change and helping the poor within our communities.

“We feel that the spaceport, like the airport, will only be used by the richer people in our society and people like Richard Branson, £20m is small change. If he wants a spaceport he should pay for it.”

Cornwall Council’s funding has to be approved by full council and Nichola is encouraging people to contact their local councillors and urge them to vote against it.

She said: “They keep saying that there will be economic benefits, by the time we see those benefits it will be too late, there will be no planet left.”

Councillor German said he was willing to have a debate about the benefits of the spaceport and to discuss the challenge of climate change.

He said: “I don’t think it is a contradiction to support the spaceport and also want to tackle climate change.

“We are talking about a small number of flights – it is not a huge number in that sense.

“All will be putting up satellites which will be helping us to use applications which will help us understand climate change and will help us to be more efficient and reduce carbon. The benefits will be much greater than the harm.

“But this is a discussion that we will have and the council money is subject to process and councillors will be asked to make the decision and we will be debating all aspects of this.

“Climate change is a huge challenge for us and there will be difficult decisions that we will take as a council and in Cornwall for how we are going to tackle climate change.

“We do need to have these debates and I welcome people giving us their views.”