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St Athan and other costs

December 29, 2010

British Army in IraqMuch of today’s media coverage has been dedicated to weather-related mayhem in the devolved nations, from crippling water shortages in Northern Ireland to similar issues in Wales.

Already, brows are raised over the potential fate of those responsible for dealing with the crises and whether, as in snowed-under Scotland a few weeks ago, heads will have to roll.

Bar this, political news from the devolved nations has been rather thin on the ground.

St Athan and the costs of cancellation

So, today’s report in the Western Mail on the full costs of the now-ditched plan to concentrate UK Armed Forces training at RAF St Athan, in the Vale of Glamorgan, makes for interesting reading for starved politics bods.

The revelations, brought about by a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, are of spending on the project reaching £32.4m before its abrupt cancellation. Of this, £18.7m was spent on consultants.

The decision to cancel the project was announced in October’s Comprehensive Spending Review, though a scaled-down version of the programme may still go ahead.

Those behind the cancellation may argue finishing the project would need funds a cash-strapped Westminster currently lacks. But the revelation may reignite debate over this and other failed projects, including the Severn Estuary Barrage and thwarted ambitions to electrify the railway line from London to Swansea, both likely to bring employment across the border.

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