Defence Secretary announces five-year plan for key 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.