Loss of Red Arrows from Lincolnshire airspace ‘would be a travesty’

The RAF Red Arrows arriving at RAF Linton-on-Ouse, near York. Photo: James Hardisty.
The RAF Red Arrows arriving at RAF Linton-on-Ouse, near York. Photo: James Hardisty.

Residents have called the potential loss of the Red Arrows from Lincolnshire airspace a “travesty”.

A public event at Waddington Community Hub saw residents able to get more information and feedback to a consultation on potential changes to the airspace the team can fly in.

The Ministry of Defence has already shortlisted three locations where the aerobatic team could be based, including RAF Waddington.

The airspace change would see the current space over Scampton, known as EG R313, de-regulated and a new one created somewhere in Greater Lincolnshire – or near the other two options being considered by the MOD.

Ian Norrington, of Cherry Willingham, told Local Democracy Reporter Daniel Jaines: “We moved to the area last year and living where we are we can see them practicing from our windows. For Lincoln to lost that would be a travesty.

“By living here you’re living a bit of the history of the Red Arrows.”

The current airspace dimensions see the cry fly 9,500ft above mean sea levels and in a radius of five nautical miles from the runway. Any new airspace would have to be similar or less and the MOD are now building an evidence-base to submit to the Civil Aviation Authority website to narrow down the options.

Despite the consultation being on the air space the Reds will fly in, people still had plenty to say about the Ministry of Defence’s choice to move the team from Scampton.

David Robinson, from the North of Lincoln, can also see the team flying from his property. He said he “didn’t see the point” in the move, criticising the Ministry of Defence for leaving the area to deteriorate and not maintaining it.

“It’s upsetting that we’re going to lose a base like Scampton with all that history,” he said.

His friend Alan Ward call the decision “stupid” and a “big loss” for the county.

County councillor Christine Talbott, whose ward covers Waddington and Hykeham East, said Waddington was the only sensible option.

“You only have to go to the Waddington Aircraft Viewing Area (WAVE) on the A15 to see those who come to see the aircraft,” she said.

“We have a lot to offer now with International Bomber Command Centre open I think we’re an ideal place for the Red Arrows to remain in Lincolnshire.”

Those attending were highly critical of safety issues surrounding the Reds being based at Wittering or Leeming with the A1 nearby. Both Mr Robinson and Mr Norrington warned of drivers being distracted by the team taking off.

The Government department has written to local authorities giving them until today (April 12) to have their say.

The consultation is available to view on the Civil Aviation Authority website, and includes a map which covers the majority of Greater Lincolnshire – though says this could be subject to change as the plans progress.

Documents on the consultation say the Red Arrows need to be in place in their new location by Autumn 2021. A provisional timeline states the new airspace would look to be implemented by July that year.