Plans to launch the UK’s first drone logistics hub at Oban Airport have reached a major milestone with planning permission approved for the proposed facility.
The news means that the initiative to create an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) hub to service Scotland’s islands with drone flights has taken a significant step forward.
The aim of the proposal is to establish a high-tech base for drones to transport medicines, biological samples and cargo between the mainland and the region’s island communities.
Funding of £170,000 from the UK Government Community Renewal funding enabled Argyll and Bute Council to develop a business case and deliver a detailed planning application with full design and costings. This work also informed a bid to the UK Government’s Levelling Up Fund and also work to progress the council’s £70 million Rural Growth Deal.
The funding award led to the council teaming up in June with drone specialists Skyports to trial the use of UAVs for the delivery of school meals. Flying from Oban Airport, the successful pilot involved flying freshly prepared meals between two schools in Oban, a distance of 1.5 kilometres.
Councillor Robin Currie, Policy Lead for the Economy and Rural Growth:
“Establishing the UK’s first UAV logistics hub in Oban would be a huge boost for Argyll and Bute in terms of creating highly valuable skilled jobs and providing skills training for future generations.
We have seen first-hand how successful drone trails are delivering vital supplies and saving precious time for our remote and island communities. Planning approval takes us another highly significant step closer to creating a facility which has the potential to become a centre of excellence for this innovative technology.”
Following approval of the planning application, the UK Government team responsible for delivering the Community Renewal Fund visited Oban Airport on 21st November to discuss proposals for the Hub in more detail.