Following weekend speculation about the future of RAF Leuchars in Fife local MP Sir Menzies Campbell has written to the Defence Secretary Liam Fox setting out the strategic case for the base. A copy of Sir Menzies Campbell’s letter is below.
You will be aware of speculation over the weekend about the future of RAF Leuchars which I have written to you about recently. I am taking this opportunity to do so again and to bring to your attention once more the essential contribution RAF Leuchars makes to our defence and its unique advantages as a result of its location.
RAF Leuchars is located at the edge of the Central Belt of Scotland with ready access to the main centres of population. Within 30 miles of Leuchars there is a population of half a million and within 80 miles a population of 4 million, i.e., approximately 80 per cent of the population of Scotland. These figures are important because they are directly relevant to the Tier One risks highlighted in the National Security Strategy published by you and the Foreign Secretary earlier this year. RAF Leuchars is uniquely positioned to provide the necessary protection to the bulk of Scotland’s population against these risks. As has been demonstrated in recent weeks, the positioning of the Quick Reaction Alert at Leuchars has provided a necessary and effective response to potential incursions into UK airspace. I should also point out that the deployment of the three proposed Typhoon squadrons at Leuchars has already begun with 6 Squadron having stood up during the week before the Battle of Britain Air Show in September whose attendance of approximately 50,000 people underlined the significance of RAF Leuchars’ geographical position and the ease of access from and to the Central Belt. Work in anticipation of the Typhoon deployment has been carried out effectively and efficiently. I understand the associated deployment costs recently incurred amount to some £40million which includes the resurfacing of the main runway. In addition a new Community Centre has been built outside the wire to serve both service and civilian communities which I had the honour of opening only a few weeks ago.
Leuchars has also become in recent years more than a fighter station. It now houses 71 TA Engineer Regiment and 58 Squadron of the Royal Air Force Regiment with several other military units. 58 Squadron is due to deploy to Afghanistan next Spring. All of the capabilities presently located at Leuchars are essential to the defence of the realm and conveniently and strategically located together. In short, RAF Leuchars is in the right place at the right time and doing the right job, effectively fulfilling its current responsibilities and equipped and poised to take forward the air defence role for which it has been thoroughly prepared. The strategic case for RAF Leuchars is overwhelming.