Leuchars loses out in RAF survival battle


RAF Leuchars is to close

RAF Leuchars is to close, it has been announced.

Personnel at Lossiemouth were told of the decision earlier this afternoon (Mon).

Defence secretary Liam Fox confirmed the closure in an announcement to the Commons at around 4.30pm

It’s the culmination of a long running battle by the base to avoid the axe.

The cut means that RAF Lossiemouth will remain the only RAF base in Scotland.

RAF Leuchars will be turned into an army barracks.

Cally Day, who has campaigned extensively to keep the Moray open, said:

“I’m absolutely delighted, I can’t imagine it going. It’s well known that we have the best training facilities.

“Local businesses will be over the moon.

“People can now get on with their lives, which have been on hold. Nine months is a ridiculously long time to leave people in limbo, not knowing if they are coming or going.

“The base has been here for 70 odd years.

“I’m sad for RAF Leuchars because they’ve runs a good campaign but at least there will be a military presence in the area with the army moving in.

“But for me it’s never been about it’s us or them. “

Describing the atmosphere immediately after the announcement, Cally added that there was a subdued reaction to the news at the base.

“People are just going about their business,’ she said.

“There’s no jumping up and down. Maybe that will come later when they are away from work. But people are pleased. “

Fife MSP Menzies Campbell said: “I cannot support the decision not to retain Leuchars in my constituency as an RAF base providingair defence because I believe it to be fundamentally wrong, strategically inept, and likely toincrease the risk to our citizens.

“Can he confirm that his decision to discontinue Royal Air Force use at Leuchars was taken againstthe advice of senior commanders of the RAF?

“Finally, the proposals for use of Leuchars by Army lack dates, detail and substance. What castiron guarantee can he give that these promises will be kept and the money for them found?

“Key things is that its fundamentally wrong, strategically inept, and likely to increase the riskto our citizens.”

An airbase has existed in the Fife village since 1911, although it was not officially known as RAF Leuchars until 1920.