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MORAY IS SET to welcome hundreds of additional military personnel and their families in 2018 and beyond with expansion at RAF Lossiemouth and Kinloss Barracks.
That is the expectation with the next stage of the changes at RAF Lossiemouth seeing the establishment of the new MPA aircraft at Lossiemouth and speculation growing that a new Army battalion will use some of the spare capacity at Kinloss Barracks.
Over three years around 400 new service men and women will be based at RAF Lossiemouth as the build-up towards establishing two squadrons of P-8A aircraft at the base accelerates.
That means additional pressure being placed on local schools and other facilities – but the newly established ‘armed forces covenant’ development officer will be working to ensure all goes as smoothly as possible for the new arrivals.
Jo Lenihan was revealed as the holder of the new post earlier this year – and as someone who used to work at the Lossiemouth base, she knows the issues they will face: “It is all about getting the message out that Moray and the Highlands offers a fantastic lifestyle – but my focus is to make sure military personnel are not disadvantaged in any way.
“That could be in terms of housing or making sure that they retain their place on NHS waiting lists when they move.”
It has been noted that as many as 13% of pupils in Moray’s schools already have a connection with the military, be it through currently serving personnel or veterans. Councillor John Cowe, who is chairman of the Moray Economic Partnership, said that many who come here will decide to make Moray their permanent home.
He said: “I have spoken to many people at Lossiemouth and Kinloss who wish to make a permanent home here – we should be seizing every opportunity to encourage them to do so.”