Parallel lines: County Hall won’t say how the public responded when asked about spaceport’s “temporary” traffic restriction

Posted By on 7th February 2024

By Peter Tremayne

The “public consultation” about temporary double-yellow lines painted on the road around Newquay airport will have to remain secret until Cornwall Council decides whether or not to make them permanent.

The double-yellow lines were painted as a last-minute panic measure in 2022 when County Hall finally realised it would have to enforce some sort of exclusion zone around Richard Branson’s rocket, before it took off strapped to the Virgin Orbit jumbo jet in January 2023.

Known as the “Spaceport Clearway” the double-yellow lines are part of an Experimental Traffic Regulation Order (ETRO.)  They were imposed in November 2022 following a four-month public consultation.

The intention to seek an ETRO received only the minimum statutory public notice and was not widely advertised - unusual for such a high-profile and potentially very dangerous event.

At the time of the ETRO application, the council said the results of its public consultation would be published by 18th November 2023.  The council did not publish the results, triggering a question under Freedom of Information.

The reply, received last night, says: “The council has not yet made the decision to make this ETRO permanent.

"When a decision is made the results will be published in the normal manner (correspondence to all respondents and details on eGov).”

Cornwall Reports understands that a decision on whether or not the double-yellow lines should be made permanent is due in May.



With no rockets to launch, the council’s “spaceport” may well struggle to make a case in support of keeping the traffic regulation order.

This article has 2 comments

  1. The problem they have, is that if they make it permanent, by a Decision now, a Judicial Review would naturally flow and that would expose Cornwall Council to a High Court finding that:

    1. There is no need for the yellow lines – Cornwall Fakeport is deader than dodo.

    2. On 9th January 2023 Cornwall Council endangered life because the Exclusion Zone around the rocket was nowhere big enough. You don’t need yellow lines when roads should have been closed – full stop.

    3. That the CAA Spaceport Licence is now time expired anyway and cannot be renewed by the CAA (and if they did the High Court would quash it within hours) due the endangerment issues and a 3 mile Exclusion Zone that should have been in place on 9th January 2023. So again – no need for yellow lines (that interfere with our lives 24/7 365) when the roads should have been closed – full stop.

    4. There is no prospect of any more Spaceport lunacy anyway technically. Rockets are quite simple really. Point the pointy bit towards the sky and light the bottom bit and up it goes. Virgin proved it was nonsense – they proved the nonsense brilliantly. In fact so brilliantly they went Bankrupt.

    So that leaves Cornwall Council in the Branson Pickle situation of their own making – no planes, no rockets and no sense. They should now, just draw a line under all the nonsense.

    Cornwall Council cannot do the climb down and accept defeat and remove the lines (which they should – they were never lawful in the first place and not now either – precisely because there is no Spaceport – and they cannot make them permanent either, because they know the High Court would overturn that – again exposing the very fact they wasted in excess of £30,000,000 on a fakeport.

    Draw a line under it Cornwall Council


  2. “Spaceport clearway”indeed!

    It sounds like a typical “Biscoeism” in the manner of the abortive red bus lane on Morlaix Avenue that cost him his seat at the last election but Bert was already gone off to signing box one at the time in question.


Leave a Reply