LIBERAL Democrat Defence spokesman Menzies Campbell last night

expressed disappointment at a Government decision to relocate the RAF's

rescue co-ordination centre from Pitreavie in Fife to Morayshire.

Hopes had been high locally that the centre would stay in Fife, being

relocated from RAF Pitreavie Castle to RAF Leuchars.

However, citing recent studies, Armed Forces Minister Nicholas Soames

said yesterday in a Commons written answer that ''substantial

operational advantages and cost savings would be gained'' by moving the

operation to RAF Kinloss in Morayshire.

Mr Campbell, MP for North-East Fife, said last night: ''It represents

a complete change of mind by the Government. Last July, Ministers took

credit for the fact that the centre was to be relocated from Pitreavie

to Leuchars.

''Now after nine months of rumour, the Government has reversed that

decision for reasons which are neither persuasive nor compelling.''

While the National Military Rescue Co-ordination Centre, along with 36

posts, will transfer to RAF Kinloss, the Air Officer Scotland and

Northern Ireland, the most senior RAF post in Scotland, will move to RAF


Pitreavie Castle is staffed mainly by RAF and Navy personnel and

employs only a small number of civilians.