RAF personnel wake up to ‘recycled’ bedrooms at Northolt

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

London-based RAF personnel will be sleeping in some of the greenest beds in town, thanks to an innovative project to recycle unwanted temporary accommodation.

Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) staff joined forces with contractor VSM Ltd and supplier Rollalong to deliver 126 temporary modern bedrooms at RAF Northolt, by re-using modular building units no longer needed at PJHQ Northwood.

This increases the number of bedrooms for single servicemen and women at the former Battle of Britain base to more than 600. It also avoids having to send the unwanted building units for disposal in landfill sites.

The new bedrooms are in addition to seven blocks of single living accommodation already delivered at RAF Northolt under Project MoDEL – the initiative to rationalise the military estate in London.

Demand for accommodation has risen at Northolt due to its expansion as a core site in London, particularly with the recent closures of the MoDEL disposal sites at RAF Uxbridge, RAF Bentley Priory and Mill Hill.

David Salmond, MoDEL project team leader said:

Defence Infrastructure Organisation’s top priority is to support our Armed Forces. There was an immediate need for living accommodation at Northolt and this solution delivered a fast and environment-friendly solution for RAF personnel.

Re-using perfectly good modular building units has delivered excellent, sustainability benefits. If a purchaser had not have been found, the modules could have been sent to a recycling centre for disposal as waste.

He added that the units had required only a light interior refurbishment and provided extra capacity on site, until a permanent solution can take full account of October’s Strategic Defence and Security Review.

Wing Commander Mike Smith Officer Commanding Support Wing RAF Northolt said:

We are particularly pleased with the recycling nature of this Project, as this is a core tenet of RAF Northolt’s sustainability agenda.

Since the closure of accommodation at Uxbridge, there has been insufficient Service accommodation for Northolt personnel and those visiting on-duty. As Northolt hosts the Regional Resettlement Centre this has been particularly challenging.

He added that the additional temporary accommodation would also lead to a considerable saving for the RAF, which would otherwise have had to rent flats or book hotels.