MoD contractors accused of carrying out ‘non-essential’ work

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is to investigate concerns that military contractors from across the country have travelled to the north-east to carry out ‘non-essential’ work.

MoD contractors accused of carrying out ‘non-essential’ work

A P-8A Poseidon at RAF Lossiemouth / photograph by SAC Connor Tierney - MOD Crown Copyright

Dozens of contractors have arrived at RAF Lossiemouth to carry out work for the MoD as well as maintenance work on surrounding military homes.

It is understood that hotels in Lossiemouth are being used to provide accommodation to the workers.

Moray MSP Richard Lochhead has called on the MoD to reconsider what it deems to be “essential” projects during the lockdown.

Mr Lochhead said: “The community is in lockdown and with clear guidance that all non-essential work and travel should be stopped to try to reduce the spread of the virus.

“I spoke to the station commander a couple of weeks ago and was led to believe that the construction workers were being provided with accommodation on the base to take into account of the community’s concerns.

“While hotels are allowed to provide accommodation for key workers, the question right now is whether these jobs are indeed essential.

“It would be ridiculous to hide behind the claim that scheduled works to homes outside the base are somehow exempt from the ‘stay at home’ message because security.”

Resurfacing work on the base’s runways is continuing ahead of the arrival of the P-8 Poseidon fleet later this year.

Mike Mulholland, chairman of Lossiemouth Community Council, believes almost all of the work being done by military contractors in the town could be postponed – arguing it could make the difference between a of national local virus outbreak starting or not.

He told The Press & Journal: “This isn’t just one or two people coming in, we’re talking about maybe 30 or 40 at a time.

“We don’t know what the virus situation is where they come from, they may be importing it here with them.

“I’ve heard of the police here speaking to people with caravans about what they are doing here.

“Why do the MoD think they’re any different, especially when the government are telling us every day to ‘stay at home’?”

Scottish Government guidance on construction has listed defence as a “critical national infrastructure” exempt from other rules.

However, the advice also stresses that organisations must also judge individual projects and keep open only what is “imperative”.

An MoD spokesman said: “The MoD is committed to ensuring the safety of service families and staff whilst completing essential work on our estate, the concerns raised about the work at Lossiemouth are being investigated.”

  • Read all of our articles relating to COVID-19 here.

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