Britain’s first vertical launch spaceport has attracted over 500 responses at the end of the deadline for public comments.
In total, 404 people have objected with 111 in favour – but the responses have seen neighbour pitted against neighbour and landowner against landowner.
Many of the objections have come from outwith the Sutherland area earmarked for the scheme.
Among the protesters are TV wildlife presenter Chris Packham who said the £17.3m project was not worth the “destruction” of part of the Flow Country’s peat bog.
“We keep being told it’s fine, ‘you’re only losing a small bit here and there’,” he tweeted.
“It adds up and this proposed new spaceport in Scotland really isn’t worth the destruction of the carbon-rich peat bog it will be built upon.”
Also objecting is Scotland’s leading young environmentalist Finlay Pringle, 12, from Ullapool in Wester Ross – who has been hailed by Mr Packham and campaigner Greta Thunberg.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) has also objected, subject to a raft of conditions not being included in any permission.
“If any of the above conditions will not be applied, then please consider this representation as an objection,” it wrote.
Scotland’s largest private landowner, billionaire Anders Holch Povlsen, is among those who have also objected to the spaceport being built in a remote part of the Highlands where he has an estate.
Mr Povlsen’s company Wildland Ltd has made a holding objection.
It has concerns over the potential ecological and landscape damage set against the “likely very limited benefits”.
However nearby Altnaharra Estate has backed the scheme – saying the benefits outweigh any negatives – and warned of the area being controlled by Wildland.
“Melness and Tongue are especially vulnerable at present due to its expanding control by one major landholding and owner now owning most of the surrounding land and is driving its management as directed by one individual, which in our view is limiting and disturbing the existing local population and its views on the development, and therefore this external proposal is a welcome change in an otherwise limited options area,” wrote Peter Bakker on behalf of the estate.
The spaceport is earmarked on the Moine Peninsula, south east of Tongue in Sutherland.
The Protect the Mhoine campaign group has also formerly objected.
But Melness Crofters Estate (MCE), who own the earmarked site, and local community councils have backed the scheme.
“We wanted to ensure that the environment was protected and safety ensured,” wrote Dorothy Pritchard, chairperson of MCE.
“There is a balance to be struck between environmental issues versus employment; MCE negotiated hard to ensure that our land is protected now and in the future.”