Green light for army dogs development

Work is expected to start next year on the redevelopment of an army barracks in Rutland for military working dogs.

Rutland County Council has granted planning permission to the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) for works at St George’s Barracks in North Luffenham.

The development will enable 1st Military Working Dog Regiment (1MWD Regt), currently based in Sennelager, Germany, to relocate to North Luffenham by the end of 2017.

Approval has been given for the construction of 326 new dog kennels, specialist dog training facilities, a veterinary clinic and squadron headquarter offices.

The move is part of the Army Basing Programme, which will see more than 5,000 British Army personnel plus their families return from Germany to various UK locations this year and return all troops from Germany by 2020.

North Luffenham is already home to 64 MWD from the Regiment’s 104 Military Working Dog Squadron.

DIO project manager Carl Southern said: “This is an important milestone in getting the barracks ready for 1MWD Regt. Our aim is to provide the specialist facilities the working dogs and their handlers need to live, work and train at their new home, and ensure any noise impact on the local community is minimal. Measures to ensure this important requirement include constructing the kennels within a sound reducing enclosure – effectively a building within a building – with carefully designed openings that limit noise emissions to agreed levels.”

Commanding Officer 1st Military Working Dog Regiment, Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Foreman, said : “With planning permission now approved, the Regiment is a vital step closer to occupying what will truly be world class facilities. Ultimately placing the needs and welfare of our dogs at the heart of this project, the innovative, state-of-the-art kennel design is also sympathetic to, and mindful of, the wishes of the local community.

“Supported by a new on-site veterinary hospital, we will continue to provide the best possible clinical environment to maintain the health and wellbeing of our animals well into the future. Furthermore, a purpose built training estate will ensure our MWD teams are fully prepared for, and capable of meeting current and emerging threats wherever in the world we are required.”

1MWD Regt is the only deployable MWD and veterinary capability within the British Army. It provides detect and protect capabilities in support of military tasks.

Planning permission has been granted subject to a small number of conditions. These include a requirement to provide evidence that noise reduction measures are effective before the kennels are occupied.

Development works are expected to start mid 2016 and complete in mid to late 2017.