Minister ‘recognises passion’ of Red Arrows campaigners

A government minister said he “recognises the passion” that campaigners have to keep the Red Arrows in Lincolnshire, but added that no formal decision has been made on their new base.

Stuart Andrew MP, minister for defence procurement, said all options are being considered for the Reds.

RAF Waddington is on the shortlist of sites for where the team could be relocated.

But, Mr Andrews, who was visiting the Waddington base to announce a new RAF simulation technology contract, said no decision has been made by the government.

“I completely recognise the passionate campaign that local people have had for this,” he said.

“Clearly the Red Arrows is something that people in Lincolnshire and the whole country love.

“But all I can say at the moment is that everything is being considered and no decision has yet been made.”

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) revealed in March that RAF Waddington is being considered as a site where the team could be relocated to following the closure of RAF Scampton in 2022.

The government confirmed the closure of Scampton last year, throwing the future of the site and the Red Arrows into doubt.

A consultation on the airspace that the team would fly in has been launched by the MOD.

Alongside Waddington, RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire and RAF Wittering near Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, are the two other possible locations for the reds.

Lincolnshire County Council’s executive councillor for economy, Colin Davie, said previously that local people needed to “make the argument” for the Red Arrows to remain in the region.

RAF Waddington is one of the RAF’s busiest stations as the hub of UK Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance (ISTAR) and the main operating base for airborne intelligence aircraft and systems like the E-3D Sentry AEW1, as well as the control centre for Reaper drones in Afghanistan.

Approximately 3,500 Service personnel, civil servants and contractors work at the base.

Calvin Robinson , Local Democracy Reporting Service