£1m for drone development in Angus

Scotland’s first drone port has been given the green light and awarded £1million to create a first-of-its-kind airspace that will allow Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) activities in Angus.
​The £1m capital funding will be used to develop an airspace where technology can be tested.​The £1m capital funding will be used to develop an airspace where technology can be tested.
​The £1m capital funding will be used to develop an airspace where technology can be tested.

Mercury Drone Ports, based in Montrose, received approval for its Business Justification Case from the Tay Cities Region Deal Joint Committee, and was granted the capital funding from the UK Government’s £26.5 million Angus Fund, part of the Tay Cities Regional Deal.

Establishing Angus as a centre of excellence for the development of drone technologies in Scotland, Mercury Drone Ports will establish a safe and easily accessible airspace structure that will enable both drone trials, and commercial drone operations to take place.

The business will play a significant role in the shaping of a new industry in the region where manned and unmanned aviation can operate safely alongside each other, supported by ground-based facilities.

Councillor Beth Whiteside, Angus Council leader, said: “Angus’s low-density population, relatively quiet airspace and good transport links makes the region ideally positioned for widespread drone operations to be pioneered.

“We are delighted to be able to lead the way through using innovative technologies to not only enhance connectivity, but also reduce our carbon footprint as we begin to tackle the climate emergency with a green infrastructure first approach.

“By creating an airspace where technology can be tested, operational procedures developed, and early commercial BVLOS operations take place, we hope to attract innovative drone technology companies, operators and commercial businesses that can begin to explore the opportunities that BVLOS flights offer.”

UK Government Minister for Scotland Malcolm Offord added: "Pioneering drone technology will help connect remote communities to essential health services, maintain renewable energy installations, support Scottish aquaculture, and assist with environmental monitoring. The UK Government is investing £26.5 million in ambitious projects in Angus including the Mercury Drone Port, and levelling up communities across Scotland with £2.3 billion."

Mercury Drone Ports will be based within the ZeroFour Hub in Montrose, a partnership between Angus Council and Crown Estate Scotland, which currently has planning permission in principle for a mixed-use business park including a commercial drone port.

The new hub along with the drone port, forms part of Angus Council’s long-term plans to drive sustainable development, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve energy efficiency and create renewable solutions for transportation and energy across Angus and the wider Tay Cities region.