183 firing ranges have closed in the last five years.
Kevan Jones Labour, MP for Durham, asked during a debate:
“To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many UK firing ranges have closed since 2015.”
James Heappey, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence Procurement, responded:
“Between 1 January 2015 and 20 January 2020 183 UK Defence Ranges have been centrally recorded by the Defence Regulator as being closed.”
Of course, this isn’t really much of a surprise given the reduced numbers in the armed forces.
In 2010, the fateful Strategic Defence and Security Review was published. As part of the plans, the British Army was reduced by 23 regular units, and by 2020 was hoped to number 117,000 soldiers, of whom 82,000 would be regulars and 30,000 will be reservists. They’re still quite a bit short of that figure but that’s covered extensively elsewhere.
The British Army’s 2020 strategy, published in 2015, aimed to have 82,000 army personnel and 30,100 reserves by March 2019. According to MoD statistics, the British Army only had 79,790 trained personnel in October 2018, and 26,960 trained reserves.