07 Mar 2019

Plan to modernise defence estate released

The Ministry of Defence has promised to invest £1.5 billion into modernising the UK’s defence estate.

A plan for 33 defence estate sites across the UK has been released by the Defence Secretary. The sites will be subject to upgrade, closure, or repurposing. with a few original buildings being retained.

Bases including RM Chivenor, Norton Manor Camp, Rock Barracks, Molesworth, and Condor Airfield will be kept while some others are being shut down and the land released to local authorities. Over 40% of military sites in the UK are over 50 years old, highlighting the need for modernisation.

Defence Infrastructure Optimisation (DIO) Chief Executive Graham Dalton said: “Delivering the Defence Estate Optimisation Programme to create a smaller, more modern and capability-focused estate is a priority for the MOD and DIO. We are set to invest £1.5Billion into the defence estate over the next five years to meet military requirements.”

“This is an exciting opportunity for Defence and we continue to engage with all relevant stakeholders, including Devolved Administrations both in areas where sites are closing but also towns that will welcome new enhanced garrisons and camps.”

The DIO is will consult with local authorities to ascertain the best use of former military sites. Land released by the MOD can be used by local authorities for residential or commercial building work according to the local area’s needs.

Defence estate currently takes up around 1.8% of land in the UK, which the MOD says is not relevant to the modern military’s needs. The plan is to create smaller, more streamlined sites which represent better value for money.

The MOD will invest the £1.5 billion over five years with an aim to meet modern military requirements. In 2016 a £4 billion fund was set for the Better Defence Estates Programme which aims to reduce defence estate by 30% while ensuring accommodation and training needs are met.

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