Leuchars to be Army base for Scotland

Soldiers from the Royal Regiment of Scotland
Image caption Soldiers from the Royal Regiment of Scotland

Leuchars in Fife is to become the centre of Army operations in Scotland, the Ministry of Defence has said.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon was in Scotland for a meeting of the MoD defence board, which met in Edinburgh for the first time.

He confirmed spending of £1.7bn on HM Naval Base Clyde, the site of the UK's nuclear submarines, and the Lossiemouth fighter jet base in Moray.

The Scottish government said it was "too little, too late".

It attacked the "folly" of spending on nuclear weapons while making cuts on conventional forces.

'Growing threats'

It said eight military sites are to close in Scotland in the next 15 years.

Sir Michael said: "Scotland is on the frontline of defending the United Kingdom from growing threats at sea, in the air and on land.

"Our commitment to the future of defence in Scotland is underlined by increasing investment in better infrastructure for the Armed Forces, helping to keep us safe."

He announced £1.3bn for upgrades to HM Naval Base Clyde's waterfront, engineering support, accommodation and security in advance of the Dreadnought class of submarines arriving in Scotland from the early 2030s.

Lossiemouth is to receive £400m as one of the RAF's three fast jet bases, with work to upgrade its runways, taxiways and accommodation for nine new Poseidon P-8 maritime patrol aircraft and an additional Typhoon squadron.

Image caption Sir Michael Fallon made the announcement at Dreghorn Barracks in Edinburgh

Leuchars Station, which was an RAF base until two years ago, will be expanded to become the main hub for Army activity in Scotland.

Sir Michael said: "I want Leuchars to be the main base for the Army in Scotland. I'm hoping to move more personnel to Leuchars.

"We've had to look at the estate and close some of the more remote barracks and make sure we can offer our people modern accommodation but Leuchars will be the main home of the Army in Scotland."

The Scottish government's Veterans Secretary Keith Brown said: "The defence secretary's announcement of another £1.3bn on infrastructure for the Trident missile-carrying fleet once again underlines the folly of spending countless billions of pounds on nuclear weapons at the direct expense of investment in conventional forces.

"Today's announcement also fails to acknowledge that Mr Fallon recently made the most severe round of cuts to defence ever imposed on Scotland.

"Late last year, he announced a near 20% reduction in the size of the defence estate, closing historic barracks such as Fort George, Glencorse and Redford.

"His cuts will result in near total removal of the Army from large parts of Scotland and the end the Royal Navy's historic presence in Fife."

Military sites

Scotland currently has 14,000 military regular and reserve personnel and 3,930 MoD civilian staff.

In November it was announced that eight military sites north of the border will close in the next 15 years, cutting the defence estate by 20%.

Major Army bases at Fort George near Ardersier, north of Inverness; Glencorse Barracks near Penicuik, Midlothian; and Redford Cavalry and Infantry Barracks in Edinburgh are among more than 56 sites to shut across the UK.

Naval base MoD Caledonia in Rosyth, Fife; Condor Airfield, near Arbroath, Angus; Craigiehall Barracks in Edinburgh; and Forthside Barracks in Stirling will also close.