Saturday, March 05, 2005

Ingram quizzed in Commons over MoD role in Gibraltar

The Ministry of Defence is fully committed to Gibraltar, its security and its outputs in support of UK military operations, Adam Ingram has told the Commons.

He said that over the last six months, there has been over a 25 per cent increase in air and maritime movements.

In answer to questions from Lyndsey Hoyle, Mr Ingram stated that the UK’s plans for the role of the armed forces in Gibraltar are unchanged.

Commander British Forces’ mission is to secure and maintain key sites and air and sea ports of disembarkation, which allow reinforcement, in order to ensure Gibraltar’s security and territorial integrity, and provide staging and mounting facilities for UK and coalition operations elsewhere. Cascading from this, the Royal Navy’s role, in conjunction with the Royal Gibraltar police, is to maintain the security and integrity of British Territorial Waters with a visible maritime presence.

The Royal Gibraltar Regiment contributes to the protection of key facilities in Gibraltar and provides immediate military support to the governor. The RAF’s role is to sustain the airfield and associated facilities as an operational airhead, and to facilitate the safe use of the airfield by civilian operators. Linked together, these components provide a collective capability that, together with other local agencies, is charged with providing for the defence and security of Gibraltar. This also provides the capacity for British armed forces to use Gibraltar in support of other operations outside of the territory,” said Mr Ingram.


The minister said that as a result of a recent review into its structure and tasks, the Royal Gibraltar Regiment will be reconfigured, resulting in a small increase in regular soldiers.

Future spending plans have not yet been set. We have yet to complete our planning round and the budget will be set in due course.

He also revealed that as at February 25 2005, British Forces Gibraltar hold 153.364 Hectares. Once the transfer of land to the Government of Gibraltar under the Lands Agreement is complete, British Forces Gibraltar will hold 119.43 hectares. In addition, the Government of Gibraltar has asked for a further 0.363 hectares for their new power station and the land at Windmill Hill parade ground. This land, said Mr Ingram will be transferred to the Government of Gibraltar in due course, in accordance with the Land Transfer Agreement.

The 119.43 hectares of land that the Commander British Forces Gibraltar will retain following the transfer of land under the lands agreement, will be used to fulfil Commander British Forces Gibraltar’s mission said Mr Ingram adding that CBF’s mission is to secure and maintain key sites and air and sea ports of disembarkation, which allow reinforcement, in order to ensure Gibraltar’s security and territorial integrity, and provide staging and mounting facilities for UK and coalition operations elsewhere.

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