Defence Secretary announces five-year plan for key military sites
Today’s update (28th February) to the Defence Optimisation Programme provides new details on 33 military sites.
The Ministry of Defence has published an update to the Defence Estate Optimisation Programme today, setting new information for 33 military sites across the UK.
In order to ensure that the defence estate is fit for purpose, a 25-year strategy was published in 2016 to optimise the defence estate and meet future military requirements. Following detailed assessment work the outline plan has now been updated, providing clarity and certainty for personnel and communities for the next five years.
Today’s announcement is accompanied by the confirmation that £1.5billion will be invested over the next five years to ensure that the estate meets both military objectives and the high standards required to house and support service personnel and their families. This is part of the £4billion committed in 2016 in the Better Defence Estates Programme to improve and upgrade the defence estate.
Within this update the Defence Secretary has confirmed that a number of bases will be retained, including RM Chivenor, Norton Manor Camp, Condor Airfield, Rock Barracks and Molesworth.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:
“The defence estate is the rock around which our Armed Forces revolve and it is vital we bring it into the 21st Century. We have already committed £4 billion to optimise our military sites and today’s update will ensure our estate continues to fulfil our needs and support our people for the next five years.
By providing further clarity on the future of key sites, not only will we protect our national security and support military objectives, but we will provide more stable employment and education opportunities for military families.”
The defence estate currently accounts for approximately 1.8% of the UK’s land mass, with over 40% of the estate being over 50 years old. This does not support the future needs of the UK Armed Forces or represent the best value for the taxpayer.
By creating a smaller more focused estate, investment can be directed to our enduring sites to meet military requirements and increase prosperity for the surrounding communities. The £4 billion committed to developing the defence estate will create and sustain jobs in the construction industry, while the release of sites that the MOD no longer needs provides opportunities for a wide range of commercial uses, creating regeneration, business growth and local jobs.
Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood said:
“When improving the defence estate we have always strived to achieve the right balance between working with local communities, achieving value for money and making sure our Armed Forces have what they require to protect our people and promote our prosperity.
“This update will give our service personnel the certainty to put down permanent roots and fully integrate with the local community.”
The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) continues to engage local authorities on behalf of the MOD, exploring the variety of ways in which vacated sites may be used in a way that is sensitive to local plans, infrastructure requirements and the environment.
DIO Chief Executive Graham Dalton said:
Delivering the Defence Estate Optimisation Programme to create a smaller, more modern and capability-focused estate is a priority for the MOD and DIO. We are set to invest £1.5Billion into the defence estate over the next five years to meet military requirements.
This is an exciting opportunity for Defence and we continue to engage with all relevant stakeholders, including Devolved Administrations both in areas where sites are closing but also towns that will welcome new enhanced garrisons and camps.