MP Sir Edward: ‘I will fight to save the base’

Red Arrows air display.
Red Arrows air display.

Market Rasen MP Sir Edward Leigh has vowed to fight with his constituents to save RAF Scampton from closure.

It comes after more than 2,500 people signed an online petition calling on the government to review its decision to close the base.

RAF Scampton is the current home of the Red Arrows. EMN-180724-114813001

RAF Scampton is the current home of the Red Arrows. EMN-180724-114813001

The Ministry of Defence last week announced RAF Scampton was to be sold off as part of cost-cutting measures.

The base will close in 2022 with the famous Red Arrows relocating to another site.

Around 600 people work at RAF Scampton, including many from the Market Rasen area.

Sir Edward said: “I know I have shared in the anger and upset of many of my constituents following the announcement of the proposed closure of RAF Scampton.

“It is not the first time that this has been proposed in my thirty-five years of service to local people as their MP.

“I will fight with them, as ever, to try and retain the base as a part of the RAF’s operational infrastructure; and work with both West Lindsey District Council and Lincolnshire County Council, should our efforts be unsuccessful, to make sure the base has a bright future.”

And Lincolnshire County Council’s member for the Market Rasen ward, Coun Lewis Strange, said closing RAF Scampton would be a disaster.

Coun Strange said: “Closing RAF Scampton to me, is a huge mistake and disastrous to the 600 people currently employed.

“Like everybody I have spoken to - I really regret the loss of Scampton and its history, however I think the Ministry is making a big mistake.

“I accept that the RAF does not like single squadron bases, however with the ‘Reds’ that is different, they operate better on a base with few other aircraft.

“Scampton has one of the longest runways in the UK and might well be needed, if Coningsby or Waddington was out of action.”

And Coun Strange said he was concerned about job losses.

He said: “Keep Scampton for the ‘Reds’, and keep 600 excellent ground staff in their employment.

“Have the bean counters costed the loss of these jobs in an area where alternative employment is not easily found- or simply the possible savings to the defence budget?

“I am aware Sir Edward Leigh is doing all he can, and we must get behind him - it is a great pity more MPs cannot remember when it was necessary to have three Vulcan bombers, on three minute stand by at our world famous base.”

Lincolnshire County Council Executive Member for Economy and Place, Coun Colin Davie said: “We were very disappointed to hear this announcement.

“RAF Scampton has been an important part of our county for decades, and we will be very sorry to see the base close.

“We’re keen to learn more about what’s planned for the site and the Red Arrows, and hope the MOD will be sharing further details on both these points in the near 
future.

“And we’ll particularly be seeking reassurances about the future of the listed heritage assets at the base, which are a key part of the nation’s history.”