Plans by the Ministry of Defence to sell a fuel pipeline and storage system that links Moray to a national distribution system are being slammed by a local MP.
The UK Government announced last year that it was considering privatising the Gas Pipeline and Storage System (GPSS) which provides fuel to RAF Lossiemouth along with a network of key military installations in the UK.
Now defence minister Philip Dunne has written to MP’s saying that the MoD is moving to ‘an expression of interest’ stage with an auction for the pipelines being held in September.
The entire network consists of 2500km of pipeline linking around 46 facilities and was first built during the second world war to ensure uninterrupted fuel supplies to key installations.
Angus Robertson MP insists, however, that the UK Government is placing profit over security in their plans and calling on the sale plans to be cancelled.
The Moray MP said: “The fuel pipelines that form the GPSS and which RAF Lossiemouth gets its fuel supply should absolutely not be sold to the highest bidder.
“This pipeline network is critical defence infrastructure and privatising it is absolutely crazy.
“Last year we saw the privatisation of Royal Mail, costing the taxpayers and billion pounds and threatening the future of the service for our rural communities. The GPSS pipeline network is now being auctioned off putting profit before security.
“I do not hear a great deal of positive comment from military personnel about their experiences of military services being taken over by private contractors and for such a critical piece of infrastructure to be sold off is yet another serious concern.”
In a written statement to MPs Philip Dunne said: “It remains the case that commercial customers account for the majority of the GPSS throughput.
“MoD undertook market testing earlier this year and considers there to be a significant level of interest in purchasing the GPSS.
“We have concluded that sale of the GPSS would allow Government to transfer the financial risks of operating in the downstream oil market to the private sector, while still preserving the GPSS’s military capability and ensuring that national resilience is not compromised.”
The Moray section of the GPSS system links RAF Lossiemouth and Kinloss Barracks with semi-buried fuel storage tanks to the east side of the B9168 Longman Drive in Inverness. The depot also supplies aviation fuel to Inverness Airport by road.