Select Committee on Defence First Special Report


Memorandum from the Ministry of Defence concerning Air Surveillance and Control System (11 November 1999)

  Further to my letter to you of 9 August regarding proposals for the rationalisation of the Air Surveillance and Control System (ASACS), I am writing to let you know the outcome of the consultation period, which ended on 15 October.

  Taking the proposals for RAF Benbecula, RAF Saxa Vord and RAF Staxton Wold first, I can advise that, whilst many representations have been received, no objection to the measures has been raised in principle. The concerns expressed by interested parties centre mainly on the local economic impact which the measures would have.

  There is no operational reason to delay the implementation of the proposals at these three Stations, and to do so would incur considerable financial penalties. I therefore intend that the measure affecting these Stations should take effect as soon as is practicable. However, I am mindful of local concern about the impact of the proposal in the areas affected and my officials stand ready to discuss options for the way forward with local authorities and other interested parties on any areas which fall within my Department's responsibility. Discussions of this nature are already taking place in relation to RAF Benbecula and RAF Saxa Vord.

  Regarding the proposal for RAF Buchan/RAF Neatishead, I can advise that many representations have been received on behalf of both Stations. Some of these have raised points which require further investigation. I do not therefore intend to make a decision between the two Stations until sufficient time has been allowed to carry out the necessary work and for proper consideration to be given to all the issues. I would expect to be able to write to you again on this early next year.

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