Date published: 19 May 2020
The Red Arrows are set to stay in their home county of Lincolnshire when they move to RAF Waddington after the closure of their current base RAF Scampton.
With their planned new headquarters a short distance away (11 miles) from their current home, the aerobatic team will still take to the skies above Scampton to practise their world-famous displays.
Cllr. Giles McNeill, Leader of West Lindsey District Council, said:
“I have been working with my officers and colleagues from the County Council in partnership with the Ministry of Defence. Sir Edward Leigh has been a key supporter of these efforts and I would like to thank him for his tireless efforts on our behalf.
“I am deeply disappointed that the decision has been taken to close RAF Scampton, whilst they Red Arrows, we are told, will continue to practice in our skies, they will not be based here.
“The impact of the closure of RAF Scampton is a significant disruption to the local economy and I fully expect West Lindsey District Council to play its part in building a bright future for the base beyond its closure. I would expect partnership working to continue with the Ministry of Defence and Lincolnshire County Council; but also increased participation from the Department for Business, Enterprise and Industrial Strategy and local stakeholders and residents.”
As previously revealed, it was announced the MOD would close the RAF Scampton in 2018. It is great news that the Red Arrows are staying in Lincolnshire as they are a part of the county’s aviation heritage that attracts thousands of visitors each year.
The latest announcement helps in terms of giving clarity and direction of where the Red Arrows will be based and West Lindsey District Council will continue to work with our partners to work and consult with the community about our next steps over the coming months.
Cllr. Roger Patterson, West Lindsey District Councillor for the Scampton Ward, also commented:
“I am really sorry that RAF Scampton is scheduled for closure. It is an historic airbase and its closure will have a substantial impact locally. I am ready to do my part as the local member.”
The Ministry of Defence will look at options for preserving the rich history of RAF Scampton after its closure. During the Second World War, the base was home to 617 Squadron, which famously took part in the Dambusters raids in 1943.
A safety assessment deemed RAF Waddington to be the best possible home for The Red Arrows, and the relocation - which was first announced in 2018 - will now move into the assessment and planning stage.
The move forms part of MoD plans to invest £4billion in its estate over the next ten years, to meet military requirements with modern and efficient facilities and infrastructure.
Defence Minister Jeremy Quin said:
“As we saw during the recent VE Day celebrations, the Red Arrows have a proud and prominent place in British culture and have long demonstrated the best of what the UK Armed Forces offer with their world-renowned skills, discipline and teamwork.
“It is good news that we have an excellent base for them at RAF Waddington, and I am delighted that they will be able to continue to practice their extraordinary aerobatic talents above RAF Scampton in their home county of Lincolnshire.”
Air Vice-Marshal Warren James said:
“I am delighted that we now have confirmation that the Royal Air Force Aerobatics Team - The Red Arrows - will remain in the heart of Lincolnshire. The Royal Air Force remains committed to the strong links it has with the county and a considerable amount of work has been carried out to secure a suitable future home location.
“The Red Arrows are a highly skilled and professional team showcasing the very best of the British precision and leadership for industry on a global scale, and inspiring next generation interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics through an air and space power lens. The announcement of this move will provide much needed stability for their future endeavours.”
The Red Arrows were formed in 1964 and have flown almost 5,000 displays in 57 countries.The team consists of nine pilots who fly in their trademark diamond display in BAE Systems’ Hawk Jets, reaching maximum speeds of 645 mph.