Select Committee on Defence First Special Report


Memorandum from the Ministry of Defence concerning Air Surveillance and Control System (16 May 2000)

  I am writing as promised to let you know of my decision regarding the reduction from three to two Control and Reporting Centres, which form part of the Air Surveillance and Control System (ASACS).

  As you know, we recently proposed that the number of CRCs should be reduced from three to two, with either Buchan or Neatishead being retained alongside RAF Boulmer. I deferred a decision between these two Stations until all the issues raised during consultation had been properly considered. This work is now complete and taking all factors into account, I have decided that RAF Neatishead will be retained as the main CRC, with a consequent reduction in manpower at RAF Buchan. However, there will be a delay, for technical reasons, in the implementation date, which is now planned for completion by November 2004.

  My decision was based on revised costing assumptions, which took into account some of the useful points raised on behalf of both Stations during consultation and resulted in an increased financial advantage for RAF Neatishead over RAF Buchan. In addition, an internal consultation exercise among ASACS personnel revealed that 82% of respondents favoured the retention of RAF Neatishead over RAF Buchan, including about 55% of those currently serving at Buchan. Given that we are committed to increasing the welfare and morale of personnel and taking into account the likely impact on recruitment and retention, this was an important consideration.

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