Space Industry Bill [Lords] DebateFull Debate: Read Full Debate
Jim ShannonMP Main Page: Jim Shannon (Democratic Unionist Party - Strangford)
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(2 years, 6 months ago)Commons Chamber
I thank my hon. Friend for his question. That is a subject of some concern and one that I had occasion to raise on numerous occasions with Commissioner Bieńkowska in my previous role as Science Minister. We want to ensure that our space sector continues to be able to compete on a level playing field, and, as long as we are full members of the European Union, we have every expectation that businesses should to be able to bid and win contracts under programmes such as Galileo and Copernicus.
Through this Bill, we seek to be a global exemplar of good regulation by balancing the need for flexibility and foresight with an absolute commitment to public safety. As such, the Bill provides a framework for the development of more detailed rules in secondary legislation, supplemented by guidance and supported by a licensing regime. The Bill was developed by my right hon. Friend the Member for South Holland and The Deepings (Mr Hayes) by drawing on expertise from across Government, including the Department for Transport, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, the UK Space Agency, the Civil Aviation Authority and the Health and Safety Executive. I also express my thanks to the wide-ranging scrutiny carried out by noble Lords in the other place, which was done with enthusiasm as all parties acknowledged the importance of the Bill and wanted to make it a success. The Bill that is being considered by this House is now better as a result of their hard work. I hope that that collaborative attitude will govern the passage of the Bill through this House. The collegiate approach to the development of this Bill, which my right hon. Friend spearheaded, will continue as we develop secondary legislation, consulting on key issues and providing confidence to the public and investors that the UK will develop safe, business-friendly regulation in the public interest.
The Space Industry Bill is necessarily broad in scope, but it benefits from the experience and best practice of international launch, as well as our own world-class aviation regulator, resulting in a safe, proportionate and comprehensive enabling framework in one piece of legislation. In turn, the activities defined in this Bill and its subsequent regulatory framework would benefit many in the UK. Entrepreneurs would benefit from new opportunities to build innovative commercial enterprises. Local economies would benefit from the creation of spaceport sites with related jobs. Our small satellite industry would have direct access to domestic launch capacity, reducing dependence on foreign launch services.
Indeed. I was in Belfast just a few weeks ago for one of the UK launch programme’s roadshow events, where we gathered together small and medium-sized businesses in Northern Ireland with expertise in space to showcase all the benefits that are to be gained from participating in the programme and taking part in the activities that the Bill will enable.