Scottish drone port receives GBP5.6 million government grant to establish offshore trial airspace

The UK and Scottish governments announced GBP5.6 million investment in mid-December to support development of Scotland’s first trial drone airspace, called Montrose Drone Port. The grant is part of a GBP700 million grant for the Tay Cities Region.

Montrose Drone Port is a Joint Venture between Angus Council and Drone Technologies to establish a temporary offshore trial airspace and give local businesses the chance to get involved by providing viable cases to use drones while developing a track record of safe operations, according to the UK Drone Association. The area covers vessel anchorages and large windfarm developments under construction off the Angus coast.

The airspace will extend from zero to twelve kilometres from shore, with segregated drone corridors to wind farms and oil and gas platforms. The 6-month temporary airspace trial will allow the opportunity to demonstrate safe operations and the demand for investment in these facilities. The long term ambition is to create a permanent airspace alongside associated land based facilities.

The airspace will focus primarily on the application and testing of Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) technology for offshore, marine, agriculture, and rural applications. Initially, drones are likely to be used for low risk, offshore purposes including offshore inspection and deliveries to vessels at anchor (1-5km offshore), offshore wind farms (30-80km offshore), and oil and gas platforms (100-200km offshore).

These will be designed primarily to facilitate the development of operating UAS Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) and autonomously in unsegregated airspace.

Tay Economic Development Spokesperson, Cllr Braden Davy said: “Establishing a world class drone industry could potentially attract business visitors and spend to Angus. Delivery drones are a fast and reliable solution for many supplies and this trial in Montrose lays foundations from which to potentially grow a permanent drone operation across Angus – one of the future growth industries.”

(Image: Montrose Port)

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