Plans for base’s future welcomed

Ripon’s MP has welcomed the news that Dishforth Airfield is to become home to an Army unit returning from their base in Germany.

Julian Smith has spoken out in support of the news that the former RAF base near Boroughbridge is to welcome an Army unit returning to the UK from its current base in Germany after 2017, strengthening his constituency’s ties with the armed forces.

The Government’s Basing Review has been working on the future of Army bases around the UK.

Around 20,000 UK forces personnel and their families currently based in Germany are due to return to the UK by 2020.

“North Yorkshire has a strong relationship with our armed forces and I am pleased the Government has recognised that,” he said.

“With Ripon’s Claro Barracks already home to 21 Engineer Regiment, having a unit based at Dishforth will further strengthen those ties to the military and I am sure the soldiers and support staff arriving later this decade will receive a warm welcome.”

Defence Secretary Liam Fox wrote to Mr Smith with news of Dishforth’s future on July 18, confirming that the Ministry of Defence plan to use Dishforth as the location for a returning unit.

The scheme is still subject to consultation and a more detailed planning process, and Dr Fox said he anticipates the move taking place after 2017/18.

The Defence Secretary has outlined initial plans on returning units.

Spokesmen for the Army and the MoD said they were unable to confirm the plans for Dishforth at this stage.

Dishforth Airfield is part of Catterick Garrison and currently home to 9 Regiment Army Air Corps who fly Lynx helicopters.

In May the regiment’s Colonel-in-Chief Prince Charles visited Boroughbridge to celebrate their freedom of the town and award operational service medals following their six-month tour of duty in Afghanistan.