The Ministry of Defence keeps its estate, including that in Northern Ireland, under constant review to meet present and planned future requirements. Land and property that is no longer required is disposed of as quickly as possible.
It is the Department’s normal policy to dispose of such surplus assets at market value in accordance with the guidance set out in “Managing Public Money”.
Sites are disposed of by means of a competitive process in order to ensure best value for defence. Therefore, it would not be appropriate to release expected receipts as it might impact on future negotiations with potential purchasers.
A list of all sites currently in disposal is available in the Library of the House.
The gifting of land and facilities over £100,000 (£250,000 since 1 April 2005) requires the approval of HM Treasury and Parliament. Details of gifts below that level are not held centrally. Since 1997 the following value of gifts of land and facilities, in support of local community initiatives, have been reported in the departmental accounts following approval by Parliament:
£ million Northern Ireland 2002-03 6.4 2003-04 13.0 South East 2005-06 0.35
The MOD does not loan facilities for local community initiatives except in so far as these constitute welfare facilities for the armed forces. Any land and facilities that are surplus to defence requirements are disposed of in accordance with “Managing Public Money” issued by HM Treasury.
This Department does not keep a separate record of the value raised from the sale of land and buildings in each region of the UK and such a breakdown could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, the total accrued disposal receipts for each year since 1998-99 (the earliest year available) were as follows:
Financial year £ million 1998-99 59 1999-2000 301 2000-01 225 2001-02 185 2002-03 279 2003-04 207 2004-05 212 2005-06 258 2006-07 394
These figures are taken from the Defence Estates annual reports and accounts, copies of which are available in the Library of the House.
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is required to obtain market value when disposing of surplus assets. In Northern Ireland all surplus MOD assets are advised to the Office of the First Minister and Deputy First Minister (OFM/DFM) at the earliest opportunity. OFM/DFM circulates details to Northern Ireland Government Departments.
We have also committed to adhere to the “clearing house” process used by Northern Ireland Government Departments under which details of surplus MOD assets are circulated to Northern Ireland Government Departments and agencies. This process is managed by the Central Advisory Unit (CAU) of Land and Property Services. Northern Ireland Government Departments and agencies may register interest through the CAU who notifies MOD accordingly.
The Ministry of Defence is required to obtain market value when disposing of surplus assets, and follows procedures laid down in “Managing Public Money’ and particular processes applicable to Northern Ireland. The Department works closely with the Northern Ireland Office when disposing of surplus assets to allow other Northern Ireland Government Departments and agencies to express an interest. We also work closely with the local authorities and other key stakeholders when considering its disposal strategy and the most appropriate alternative use, taking into account the requirements of the local community. This will often include an assessment of development and regeneration opportunities through the preparation of a planning brief or outline planning application which can be taken forward by prospective purchasers.