HC Deb 13 May 1996 vol 277 c356W
Mr. Madden

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what legal process was involved in designating RAF Menwith Hill; on what date this change of name took effect; how many RAF personnel are stationed at RAF Menwith Hill; what is the role and function at the base of the senior RAF officer; who is the base commander; who is accountable to the senior RAF officer; to whom he is accountable; and if he will make a statement. [29073]

Mr. Soames

Menwith Hill is a Crown freehold site belonging to the Ministry of Defence. The designation RAF Menwith Hill came into effect on 19 February 1996. This was simply an administrative change to bring the base into line with other RAF sites made available by the Ministry of Defence to the United States Government.

The senior RAF representative at the base is the RAF commander whose role is to provide advice to the base commander, who is the senior US officer on the site, on a range of UK policy and protocol matters. He is also responsible for liaising with the local community.

The RAF commander has the status, disciplinary powers and responsibilities of a commanding officer in respect of all RAF personnel and in respect of civilians—except the Ministry of Defence police—employed by the MOD at the site. However, it is not our policy to give details of personnel assignment. As a serving RAF officer, the RAF commander is responsible to the higher command of the Royal Air Force, which in this instance is exercised through the air officer commanding directly administered units at HQ strike command, High Wycombe.