DEFENCE CHIEFS HAVE taken the first steps in the process that will eventually see a massive expansion to RAF Lossiemouth.
While many questions are still being asked over the ability of the Moray base to cope with nine new P-8A aircraft that will restore the UK’s MPA defence force, the first stages of the structural expansion at Lossiemouth are likely to begin in the new year.
Ahead of that, the Ministry of Defence is inviting both small and medium-sized local businesses to attend a “market day” in November where they will be given the opportunity to bid for work.
The range of structural changes to RAF Lossiemouth will include a new on-base fire station, new office complexes and a new Air Traffic Control tower. Also planned will be work on the runways at the base to help them cope with not only the P-8A using them on a daily basis but the additional Typhoon squadron to be raised at Lossiemouth.
While XV(R) Squadron, who operate the Tornado OCU at the base, will ultimately be withdrawn, as revealed exclusively by insideMoray last month the MoD are planning to uplift a Typhoon OCU Squadron from its current based at RAF Coningsby to Moray.
However, one local councillor has been quick to point out that the multi-million pound expansion in Moray, including vital new jobs being created by Boeing at the base, would come under serious threat in the event of a second Scottish Independence referendum.
Looking ahead to the forthcoming expansion and what it means for Moray businesses. Chairman of the Moray Economic Partnership, John Cowe, said: “It is important to see that this is happening and we will certainly want to work with the MoD in whatever way we can as this is going to be absolutely massive for Moray.”
Councillor Cowe, who was one of the local authority representatives who was given a special preview of the P-8A last week, added: “We do need to embrace this – we need to have homes for everyone, school places and infrastructure so that it all runs smoothly.”
The warning came from Cllr Cowe’s Heldon and Laich ward colleague, Councillor Chris Tuke who himself served on Nimrod aircraft out of Kinloss. He said: “We need to remember that this is a UK Military facility – so this investment will only happen if we remain part of the UK. The UK will not base its armed forces in a foreign country.”
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