New task force formed to ease army transition

TS EN 18/07/2011. LEUCHARS, FIFE: The front gate of RAF Leuchars air base in Fife. The UK Coalition Government has announced the withdrawal of the RAF from Leuchars as part of cuts in defence spending.
TS EN 18/07/2011. LEUCHARS, FIFE: The front gate of RAF Leuchars air base in Fife. The UK Coalition Government has announced the withdrawal of the RAF from Leuchars as part of cuts in defence spending.
0
Have your say

A NEW task force is to be set up in a bid to minimise the impact of RAF Leuchars’ transition to an army base.

Leaders of the Residents Action Force Leuchars (RAFL) which campaigned to save the historic air station will join the new Fife Defence Transition Task Force (FDTTF).

The group will lobby the Ministry of Defence (MoD) to ensure the best possible economic outcome for north east Fife during the handover, as well as seeking support for businesses and civilian staff affected by the closure.

It was announced in July that the RAF will be moved out of Leuchars to make way for two army units and a formation headquarters between 2013 and 2017.

The lack of detail has prompted fears of a ‘fallow’ period that could devastate the local economy, which stands to lose Leuchars’ estimated £60 million annual contribution.

Carroll Finnie, vice-chair of RAFL and chair of Leuchars Community Council, will be involved with the new group.

She said: “We now have to look at the impact the transition is going to have on local businesses, schools and so on, and we have to look at how we can deal with that.

“What we don’t want is a period of two or three years between base uses.”

FDTTF is due to meet every two months, while quarterly meetings with MoD officials will also be sought.

The task force will comprise representatives from community councils and local economic groups, as well as the Scottish Government and national bodies such as Scottish Enterprise.

It has been proposed that Fife Council should take on the role of chairing the task force through administration leader Peter Grant.

FDTTF will also represent the interests of Rosyth, where an army unit is set to move into the HMS Caledonia navy base.

Plans for the new task force were due to be rubber stamped yesterday (Thursday) by the council’s environment, enterprise and transportation committee.