Fight to keep Red Arrows gathers momentum in Westminster

The Red Arrows aerobatics display team in action during the RAF 100th anniversary celebrations in London last year. (PHOTO BY: Ministry Of Defence, via Getty Images).
The Red Arrows aerobatics display team in action during the RAF 100th anniversary celebrations in London last year. (PHOTO BY: Ministry Of Defence, via Getty Images).

The campaign to keep the Red Arrows in Lincolnshire gathered momentum this week as key figures in the county joined forces.

In an impassioned plea, Coun Martin Hill, the leader of Lincolnshire County Council, wrote to the government’s Defence Secretary, Penny Mordaunt.

And on Tuesday, a delegation of businesses and residents travelled to the House Of Lords for a lobbying event supported by the Visit Lincoln tourism organisation.

The world-famous aerobatics display team is looking for a new home after the decision to close its current base, RAF Scampton, in 2022 as part of defence cuts.

Three alternative sites have been mooted, but only one of them, RAF Waddington, is within Lincolnshire.

Coun Hill said: “This is something local people are passionately campaigning for, with thousands signing a petition to keep the Red Arrows at an airbase in their home county.

“We offer an ideal location. No only do we have the available airspace, we also have the high-quality housing and schools needed by the crew and their families.

“Aviation heritage is a cornerstone of Lincolnshire’s tourism sector, and visitors are often drawn by the chance of seeing the Red Arrows in action in the skies.”

Coun Hill also argued that many local businesses have close links to the RAF and the Red Arrows, providing jobs to drive economic growth.

He added: “The Red Arrows are important ambassadors for our county, and recently played a central role in a major trade visit from China, which promises to open the door to significant investment.”

The Lords event was hosted by Lord Cormack, the chairman of the Historic Lincoln Trust. Delegates spoke to Ministry Of Defence officials and MPs.

Lydia Rusling, chief executive of Visit Lincoln, said: “We are committed to doing all we can to ensure the connection to the RAF, the county’s unique aviation heritage and the Red Arrows team remains strong and appealing.”