Closure of RAF Kinloss will be ‘devastating’ for local communities

A Scottish Episcopal Church leader has said that the closure of RAF Kinloss will have a “devastating” impact on surrounding communities.

The Very Rev Cliff Piper, Dean of Moray, Ross and Caithness, said the closure would have a “devastating” impact on the local economy as well as “special relationship” that had developed between the families of those serving at the RAF base and the local community.

RAF Kinloss, in Moray, Scotland, is one of only two Nimrod bases in the UK. It currently employs thousands of people and contributes millions of pounds to the local economy.

News of its closure came on Tuesday when the Coalition Government’s defence spending review announced that the Nimrod surveillance aircraft would not be replaced.

Rev Piper said: “The closure of RAF Kinloss will have a devastating impact on the communities surrounding it, not just in economic terms but also in the special relationship the base and the local communities have shared and developed over many years.

“Families of those serving in the base are very much part of the community, especially in Forres and Elgin.

“A number of personnel have spent two or more terms of service at Kinloss, resulting in a closer relationship with the local community than is experienced by other military bases.

“The loss to the local communities that this closure will bring is simply immeasurable.”

The move has angered Moray Council officials, who are looking for confirmation from the Coalition Government that it will support communities affected by the closure.

MP Angus Robertson was quoted by local newspaper the Press and Journal as saying: “We would expect then that the Ministry of Defence and Scottish Office would have a plan in place ready to go as soon as they announced their closure plans for RAF Kinloss. Unfortunately, there has been no plan and no proper support offered and that’s unacceptable.”

Robertson is also seeking “urgent clarification” from the UK Government over the future of RAF Lossiemouth after leaked documents suggested it its Tornado fleet transferred to Marham in Norfolk.

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