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Battle area will get Mid-Eastern upgrade

PUBLISHED: 09:40 12 August 2008 | UPDATED: 10:59 08 July 2010

Troops are set to be “significantly more prepared” for combat in the Middle East now a Norfolk military training area has been given the go-ahead for an upgrade.

Troops are set to be “significantly more prepared” for combat in the Middle East now a Norfolk military training area has been given the go-ahead for an upgrade.

The Stanford Training Area (Stanta), between Thetford and Watton, was first formed more than 60-years-ago to prepare troops for the Nazi invasion of Europe.

But now the 30,000 acre live fire site, which covers 2pc of Norfolk, will be transformed to re-create the conditions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Yesterday Breckland Council's development control committee approved proposals by the Ministry of Defence for a mixture of single and two-storey buildings, made of plywood-clad steel containers.

The training camp, which is one of the main centres in the UK for pre-operational exercises for troops deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan, will see two new training complexes, urban and rural, to ensure military personnel have experience at fighting in all ground they are likely to encounter on tour.

Col Simon Lloyd, the commander of the Defence Training Estates (East), said: “We need to make training for soldiers about as realistic as possible so they can fight insurgents, defeat the enemy and return home safely.

“The number of people coming here will not change. But the facilities will better prepare them for combat.

“These young men and women will not be as well trained as they could be without this improvement. They deserve this.

“They will be significantly more prepared, and significantly better at reducing bullets and saving lives.”

The site's infrastructure will also be improved to cope with the additional size and weight of the current vehicles.

Breckland received no objections to the plans and councillors unanimously voted to give the proposals the green light.

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