§ 8. Mr. Spring
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will give an assessment of the United States air force's air base operations and related services in the United Kingdom.
§ Mr. Hanley
The United States air force in the United Kingdom currently operates airfields at the three main operating bases of RAF Mildenhall, RAF Lakenheath and RAF Alconbury, and the standby deployment base of RAF Fairford. However, flying will cease at RAF Alconbury by the end of March 1995.
§ Mr. Spring
Is my hon. Friend aware that some 1,500 additional United States service personnel will be coming to RAF Mildenhall and RAF Lakenheath in my constituency during the course of the year? Is my hon. Friend aware of the extent to which my constituents welcome that, and of the fact that community relations in my constituency are considered to be the best in the world? Will my hon. Friend join me in celebrating the strong British-American link which for 50 years has served so well the cause of freedom and democracy?
§ Mr. Hanley
I warmly welcome my hon. Friend's comments. It is true that the number of active duty service members in the Mildenhall and Lakenheath area is expected to increase from just over 6,000 to almost 8,500 by April 1995. Although that presence is welcome, it naturally brings with it pressures, especially on housing, and I congratulate my hon. Friend on the direct efforts that he has been making with the United States embassy and with the Ministry of Defence to ensure that adequate housing is provided in due time.