Around 3,600 British forces will move from Germany to the UK under initial plans announced by the Ministry of Defence today.
Ministers have given provisional approval for HQ Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (HQ ARRC), 102 Logistics Brigade (102 Log Bde) and 1 Signal Brigade (1 Sig Bde) to move from Germany to the UK between 2009 and 2014. More than 15,000 service personnel will remain in Germany.
In the UK, the site currently occupied by the RAF at Innsworth (Gloucestershire) has been selected as the most suitable for HQ ARRC. Defence College of Aeronautical Engineering. Cosford (Shropshire) is the recommended site for 1 Sig Bde and 102 Log Bde, although other sites will continue to be assessed for them until such a time as Cosford's future Defence use has been decided.
Defence Minister Bob Ainsworth said:
"This work is driven by the need to deliver operational capability in a more effective and efficient way. We will do this by moving towards a more coherent basing arrangement for the Army and, at the same time, making better use of the MOD estate in the UK.
"This is an important announcement for the affected communities. There is now more detailed work to be done on these proposals and we will consult closely with all interested parties including local councils, health and education providers and trade unions. It is a significant announcement for the personnel and families involved, who will be closer to their extended families when they return.
"Germany has played a significant part in the history of the UK's armed forces as a base for our troops for several decades. It will continue to remain an important part of its future as well - even after these personnel return to the UK. With the continued agreement of the German government, some 15,000 troops will remain there for many years to come.
"This announcement doesn't change the close relationship we have with Germany or our commitment to our NATO responsibilities."
Detailed plans will now be drawn up for the moves to the UK, starting with HQ ARRC which could move between 2009 and 2011. If these plans are given final approval, the moves to the UK would also trigger a reorganisation of Army basing in Germany that would eventually lead to the closure of Rhine Garrison and Munster Station, the latter completing the closure of the Osnabruck Garrison, by 2014. Final approvals are not expected before the end of 2007 for the timing of the HQ ARRC move, and Spring 2009 for the remainder of the moves.
The MoD first announced the establishment of a project team to examine in detail opportunities for further rationalisation of basing arrangements in Germany through the exploitation of UK defence estate opportunities in July 2006.