NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

RAF Lossiemouth fears to be raised in Commons

RAF Tornado
Image caption There are serious fears for the future of the Tornado fleet at RAF Lossiemouth in Moray

An MP is to raise the issue of leaked documents, which suggest RAF Lossiemouth in Moray will be run down over the next year, in the Commons.

The papers, seen by SNP Moray MP Angus Robertson, are said to imply the base's Tornado fleet would be transferred.

The Ministry of Defence has insisted no final decision has been made.

Mr Robertson, who will raise the issue on Monday, said he hoped the prime minister and Scottish secretary were being "straight" with Moray.

The government's defence review this week cancelled the new Nimrod order, effectively meaning nearby RAF Kinloss would shut.

There has been mounting speculation that all Tornado operations could be moved from Lossiemouth to RAF Marham in Norfolk, where engineering work for the aircraft is already based.

Mr Robertson said the document seemed to reflect internal MoD thinking that the fleet would be "centralised" at Marham by next October.

The document also suggested neighbouring RAF Kinloss would be placed into "care and maintenance" by next March.

The MoD said it did not comment on "leaked documents."

Barracks suggestions

Moray's two RAF bases contribute more than £150m to the local economy annually and support about 5,700 jobs, a report said earlier this year.

RAF Kinloss will close after ministers cancelled orders for the new Nimrod MRA4 surveillance aircraft.

It has been suggested that the base could be retained as a barracks for soldiers returning from Germany.

Defence sources have already said the troops would not arrive until about 2015 at the earliest.

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