North East Fife MSP Rod Campbell has demanded clarity on the future of RAF Leuchars following the announcement of a major restructuring of the army by Defence Secretary, Philip Hammond MP.
The Secretary of State said that radical restructuring would have no impact on the outcomes of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) basing review, which has yet to be completed.
But the SNP’s Rod Campbell has written to Mr Hammond seeking clarification as he believes the multi-role brigade envisioned for Leuchars will not exist in the same form once the restructuring has been implemented.
Mr Campbell also repeated his call for a greater degree of detail on the timing and practicalities of the army move to Leuchars to be made available to the community as a matter of urgency.
Speaking after the Defence Secretary’s restructuring announcement, Mr Campbell said: “Last summer the Liberal-Conservative coalition revealed their intention to see RAF Leuchars transformed into a major army base, though their plans were woefully short on detail at that time.
“Now, one year down the line, the local community is no further forward - It is high time that the basing review was completed.
“The Secretary of State has claimed that the ongoing army restructuring process will have no impact on the question of basing.
“However, the point has been made, by myself and others, that the multi-role brigade which is intended to be based at Leuchars will no longer exist in the form that was envisioned during Liam Fox’s time in office.
“What is needed above all is clarity. The people of the area require a firm foundation on which to plan for the future.
“It is extremely difficult for the community, and associated agencies, to make plans for the future of the local economy in the absence of a significant degree of detail as to the timing of the army’s arrival and the scale of their presence.
“I have written to the Secretary of State requesting more detail on the Army’s planned move to Leuchars.
“This information is of vital importance to my constituency.”
North East Fife MP Sir Menzies Campbell claimed the proposed restructuring of the army backed up the case for the RAF to remain in Leuchars.
“This announcement should put the last nail in the coffin of the proposal to transfer the Typhoons from Leuchars to Lossiemouth,” he said.
“The original decision was based on the army’s requirement for sufficient bases in Scotland to accommodate a multi-role brigade including armoured units.
“Now we know that the brigade which is coming to Scotland will not have the same basing requirements.
“There is no requirement for the army to occupy Leuchars (which is no doubt why no money is being spent in preparation for their occupation).
“It follows there is no need to move Typhoons to Lossiemouth.
“The strategic case for doing so was always flawed.
“The financial case is completely undermined and now the Army’s requirement for Leuchars has gone - what is left?”