Work to develop a world-class drone port in Montrose has taken a step forward with the start of a residents consultation.
The Mercury Drone Port project aims to build a Centre of Excellence for drone technologies. The project will encompass vessel anchorages and extend out to windfarm developments currently under construction off the Angus coast.
Located at Montrose’s Zero Four site, the project will comprise a dedicated air space trial area and associated temporary on shore facilities to support businesses. The drones will work in offshore environments, including on vessels at anchor, offshore windfarms and oil and gas platforms, at ranges of up to 200 km.
The six-month temporary airspace project will create an offshore trial airspace for local businesses to develop drone skills and allow the site to gain a track record of safe operations.
Once the facility demonstrates it can operate safely and that there is demand for investment, the long-term ambition is to create a permanent airspace alongside associated land-based facilities.
Should the project secure a long-term position, the developers hope to use drones for inland purposes in fields such as the agriculture industry or logistics companies.
The consultation is the start of planning for the initial phase of the project, which could see drones operating offshore this year. Online presentations will take place on Wednesday 19 August.
The project is being developed by the Angus Council in partnership with Drone Technologies Ltd. (DTL) and assistance from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
The project will take advantage of the growing global drone industry, which is predicted to grow over the next five years.
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Economic Development Spokesperson, Councillor 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.
“People often only hear of the negative experiences of drones but like any other device, they need to be used responsibly and are subject to specific safety rules relating to the way they are operated, underpinned by UK law.
“This is why the council and Drone Technologies Ltd are keen to reassure local residents of the safety record and give them the opportunity to raise any concerns and have them answered through a series of online presentations to be held.”
The project is part of the region’s Mercury Programme of investments, a £1-billion partnership programme between government, public, private and community sectors. It aims to increase productivity through clean growth, protecting places for future generations to live, work and visit.