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Defence Establishment Closures (Support)

Volume 447: debated on Thursday 22 June 2006

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his Department’s policy is on financial support for (a) economic development, (b) training and (c) environmental improvements in an area in which a defence establishment has been (i) closed and (ii) mothballed; and if he will make a statement. (79461)

The Ministry of Defence keeps its estate under constant review to meet present and planned future requirements, with a view to disposing of surplus assets as quickly as possible. Pending a final decision and subsequent disposal action, any redundant sites will normally be closed and/or mothballed to reduce unnecessary expenditure. The need for financial support to assist the disposal of a site is considered on a case by case basis, usually to maintain the property to an appropriate standard to meet environmental and health and safety requirements, consistent with the most likely disposal strategy. Limited opportunities may also exist for temporary commercial or military training uses while in disposal.

Other Departments provide direct financial support for economic development regionally or to communities. However, the closure of defence establishments can often provide new opportunities for civilian re-use and development. It is therefore the usual practice of the Ministry of Defence to work closely with the local authority and other stakeholders—amongst others English Partnerships, Regional Development Agencies, and in Scotland the Scottish Executive, the Enterprise bodies and the Welsh Assembly in Wales—to consider the most appropriate future use.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much financial assistance his Department gave to the Cowal area after the closure of the US Navy base at the Holy Loch for (a) economic development, (b) training, (c) environmental improvements and (d) other purposes. (79494)

Holy Loch closed over a decade ago and a substantive answer will take a little time to research from archive. I will write to the hon. Member and place a copy of my letter in the Library of the House.