The Moray Economic Partnership has today welcomed the news that the army is to be based at Kinloss from next summer.
The Ministry of Defence has confirmed the move of 39 Engineer Regiment (Air Support) from Waterbeach to Kinloss in summer 2012.
This sees the move of some 930 service personnel and their families to Kinloss, and 44 service personnel and their families to Wittering.
This is one of a number of preliminary Army unit moves arising from the Defence Transformation announcement made on 18 July which set out how the department intends to rebase troops, many of whom are currently located in Germany and other overseas locations.
Jim Royan, Chairman of the Moray Economic Partnership said: "The RAF has been at the heart of our Kinloss community for 70 years, and we wish those who are leaving the very best. But we are delighted the men and women of 39 Engineers are coming to Moray and they will find a warm welcome at their new home."
"We appreciate the great efforts that are being made to secure a seamless transition. The well established partnership effort in Moray has already built a friendly working relationship with the Army. We will continue to work collaboratively with the Armed Forces and the Government to make the changes a success for Moray."
Minister for the Armed Forces Nick Harvey said: "The Defence Transformation announcement in July 2011 identified a number of key objectives including the long-term plan to bring the Army back from Germany, a basing laydown for the RAF and the Royal Navy, the sale of sites no longer required and the plan to place Army units in Kinloss by 2014/15. These announcements demonstrate the Government and Army is taking forward this programme for change.
"This programme will ensure that fit-for-purpose infrastructure is in place to support both military operations and Service personnel and their families. These preliminary moves will also ensure any gap in occupation of the sites at Kinloss and Cottesmore is kept to a minimum. The strategic objective remains to deliver a coherent and affordable Defence capacity in 2020 and beyond."
Alex Paterson, Chief Executive of Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said: "This is extremely good news for Moray. Given the proud association Moray has had with the RAF over the last 70 years, it is particularly fitting that an air support regiment will be making its home here. We look forward to welcoming the 39 Engineers, part of the prestigious Royal Engineers, and their families to the Kinloss base. This news will also be a huge boost to local businesses and the wider community. We will be doing all we can in the months ahead to support the base while continuing to develop new economic opportunities for the area. Naturally, we will also continue to work with the RAF to ensure the skills and talents of people leaving the service are not lost to Moray."