Space plans bill will help UK to ‘thrive’

Matt Warman
Matt Warman

The MP for Boston has said a bill outlining plans for Britain’s space industry demonstrates the nation ‘looks forward to the future with confidence’.

Matt Warman was speaking during a discussion on the Space Industry Bill, which will bring in new powers to license spaceplanes and spaceports.

It is also expected to create a new framework for regulating space flight.

Prior to the General Election last year, Mr Warman sat on the Science and Technology Committee which oversaw the draft bill and made a number of recommendations.

Mr Warman indicated that many people aligned having a space industry with being a ‘thriving great nation’ - constituents concerns over foreign aid as an example.

He said: “In my constituency, we talk about space far more than people might think.

“That is not because there is a lot of it in the open fenland and marsh country, but because, as one might expect, we talk about foreign aid an awful lot, and the question that always arises is why we give money to certain countries.

“They have space programmes. That is, in a sense, the definition of a country that is a thriving great nation: an economy that is looking to the future and does not need the help of others to thrive and travel to infinity and beyond—to the final frontier.

“I think the very existence of the Bill demonstrates that Britain today is a nation that looks forward to the future with confidence.

“This is not just empty rhetoric; it is something that the Government are doing in real detail.”

Mr Warman said that opportunities included a ‘huge economic potential’ - using the example that America’s space programme lead to the invention of Teflon, the non-stick coating used on many of today’s kitchen utensils.

“We should think of the forthcoming space industry in the United Kingdom in the same way. The Bill represents the beginning of a huge new economic element that will have huge tangential benefits, whether they are CubeSats or the satellites that will power a host of other industries.”

Speaking on the potential of space ports he nodded to ‘space in Lincolnshire’, quickly adding: “Although, it is very good agricultural land, so it would be a difficult decision to make.”

He warned, however, against constraining industries with regulation and said Government should allow them to grow and flourish.

He said: “We must be mindful of what is going on, not only on this planet but beyond it, and I think that the Bill does that to some extent.

“We must begin to think of ourselves not only as global citizens, but as intergalactic citizens.

“We must consider the consequences of what we do as a human race, not only beyond our country’s shores but beyond our atmosphere.

“That is what real global responsibility looks like.”

The bill passed its second reading in the House of Commons and will now be scrutinised by MPs.