A training area used by the Royal Marines that was due to be sold off by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) could be saved.
The airfield at RM Condor in Scotland was due to be sold off in 2020 as part of basing cuts, but, during a visit to the base, Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood said no final decision had been made on its fate. He said:
“No firm decision has been made about the area here. We have to take into account all sorts of factors such as what the land can be used for.
"If we are bringing assets back from Germany, if we are moving other infrastructure across the UK, it’s all got to find a home and that’s the process we are going through.”
The base is home to the Marines of 45 Commando. Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Duncan Forbes believes the base is vital to training.
“The airfield here is vital to our operational outputs. We do driver training, small arms firing and all manner of low level tactical training."
Following demands for assurances over the future of the RM Condor base by the Scottish Government, last April the Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson reaffirmed the MoD’s commitment keeping the Royal Marines in Condor.
The MoD is looking to save £3bn by 2040 and question marks hang over bases and training areas across the UK.
Minister for Veterans, Graeme Dey, said:
“We have repeatedly set out our concerns about the social and economic impacts of the proposed cuts to the defence estate in Scotland, which arose from the announcement in 2016 of the Better Defence Estate Programme.
“I was pleased to meet with Tobias Ellwood yesterday during his visit to Scotland, where I pressed again for assurances around removing future uncertainty and fulfilling previous commitments to base 12,500 regular Armed Forces personnel in Scotland by 2020.
“Mr Ellwood gave me firm assurances that 45 Commando would remain at RM Condor in Arbroath, and it is essential that the future of the Marines is secure at the base, along with the necessary infrastructure to support them in their role.”