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Ministry of Defence: Estate

Volume 703: debated on Monday 30 June 2008

My right honourable friend the Minister of State for the Armed Forces (Bob Ainsworth) has made the following Written Ministerial Statement.

I would like to announce the publication of the defence estate development plan 2008 (DEDP 08) today.

The document may be found at: www.defence-estates.mod.uk/publications/dep08.php and copies have been placed in the Library of the House.

It sets out the framework to 2030 for the coherent development of the estate to meet the future needs of defence and the priorities for investment and rationalisation arising from it. The DEDP 08 articulates our firm intentions for the short term and more general plans for the longer term. It is therefore an authoritative framework document that will drive future development and compliments the Defence Estate Strategy 2006, In Trust and On Trust. It is intended that the plan will be reviewed annually within the MoD.

The defence estate is a strategic enabler and a key supporting capability that underpins force structures and defence outputs. The DEDP 08 will deliver an estate that supports flexible, balanced forces optimised for expeditionary operations, enabling the efficient and effective generation, deployment, sustainment and recovery of military capability. This will be achieved through the development of defence communities. The aim is to have an estate of fewer larger sites in the UK and overseas that will be legislatively compliant and fit for purpose, support both the current and evolving military need and provide value for money. Sustainability remains a key tenet of government policy, and the DEDP 08 reflects the MoD's commitment to this important agenda.

The DEDP 08 sets out the MoD’s key sites in the core sites baseline and divides this into three categories, the core, retained or disposal estate, providing a focus for investment. The core estate consists of large bases or groups of sites that have an indefinite operational future, or individual sites that are expected to support defence outputs for at least 15 years. The retained estate comprises that body of sites where the future is not fully assured and could be subject to review leading to reuse within the department or disposal. Many retained sites may have a planning horizon of 10 years or more. The disposal estate consists of those sites already identified as surplus to defence requirements. However, it is important to recognise that future, unforeseen events and changed circumstances could mean that sites move both into and out of disposal.

The DEDP 08 makes three underlying assumptions to ensure the maximum scope for innovation. The first is that there will be little scope to reduce the existing UK training estate in the short term, as it is vital to the delivery of military capability. Secondly, the MoD is likely to remain committed to maintaining some heavy-armour presence in Germany for the next 25 years. Thirdly, the existing permanent joint operating bases will be required for the foreseeable future.

The DEDP 08 will be widely available and will help to inform the development of regional spatial strategies, local development frameworks and the devolved authorities. In so doing it will highlight development opportunities and serve to better deliver our future plans through the planning process.