Britain is considering setting up a satellite navigation system to rival the European Union’s Galileo project amid a row over attempts to restrict Britain’s access to sensitive security information after Brexit, the Financial Times reported
The Galileo satellite programme is the EU’s 10 billion euro ($12.2 billion) programme to develop a rival to the U.S. Global Positioning System.
The FT also said that Britain’s business minister Greg Clark was taking legal advice on reclaiming the 1.4 billion euros it has invested in Galileo since the project started in 2003.
The European Commission has started to exclude Britain and its companies from sensitive future work on Galileo ahead of the country’s exit from the EU in a year’s time, a move which UK business minister Clark said threatened security collaboration.
“We have made it clear we do not accept the Commission’s position on Galileo, which could seriously damage mutually beneficial collaboration on security and defence matters,” he said in an emailed statement.
Britain has played a big part in Galileo so far, carrying out about 15 percent of the work on it. Clark said that if Britain was excluded it could result in years of delays and higher costs for the project “stretching into the billions”.
He promised to ensure that Britain’s space industry was not deprived of future opportunities.
“We will continue to work with the UK space sector on this issue and through our modern Industrial Strategy will ensure the UK can realise the opportunities of the commercial space age,” Clark said.
Britain’s space sector is growing four times faster than the rest of the UK economy and the country has a 7 percent share of the global space industry.