Work to overhaul security at secretive military base in Yorkshire moves a step closer

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Work to overhaul RAF Menwith Hill’s entrance is moving a step closer, as the Ministry of Defence looks to beef up security at the secretive military communications base.

Design firm WYG has submitted a request for an Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) screening opinion on behalf of the Secretary of State for Defence.

RAF Menwith Hill, near Harrogate

RAF Menwith Hill, near Harrogate

A screening opinion request is required to see if an EIA is required for a development, with WYG stating in their submission to Harrogate Borough Council that plans for the base shouldn’t require the assessment.

Among their reasons was that any development at the site would take place on the entrance’s existing footprint, and was unlikely to take place on any extra land.
In their initial planning application submitted to Harrogate Borough Council, the Ministry of Defence stated work to the base’s entrance – which will include a new visitor centre, registration office and gatehouse, as well as new security barriers – was prompted by the ongoing risk of terrorism.
“Due to the classified nature of the operations at the base, security is a prominent concern. In response to the heightened risk of terrorist activity in the wake of 9/11, security regulations for both UK and US military operations have been tightened considerably,” an environmental screening statement tendered with the initial application states.

WYG’s report states the base was established in 1954 “to act as a communication intercept and intelligence support service for both the United Kingdom and the United States of America”.