The people of Lincolnshire need to “make the case” for the Red Arrows to be based at RAF Waddington, a senior county councillor has said.
Councillor Colin Davie, executive member for economy and place at Lincolnshire County Council, said he does not want to lose the Red Arrows and added he would do “everything he can” to lobby for them to stay in the county.
The Ministry of Defence revealed earlier this week that RAF Waddington is on the shortlist of sites where the team could be relocated following the closure of RAF Scampton in 2022.
Alongside Waddington, RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire and RAF Wittering near Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, are the two other possible locations.
Councillor Davie said local people need to “make the argument” for the Red Arrows to remain in the region.
“It is now down to the people of Lincolnshire to make the case for Waddington and for keeping the Red Arrows here,” he said.
“I want to see them stay in Lincolnshire and I will do everything I can to make that argument.
“Ultimately, the decision is not ours but if we make that case and make a good argument then hopefully we will get the right decision.”
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 RAF Waddington.
The news follows the decision by the government to close RAF Scampton by 2022.
The MOD confirmed the closure of the base last year, throwing the future of the site and the Red Arrows into doubt.
County council and West Lindsey District Council officials have since been in discussions over possible use of the site and secured £150,000 worth of funding in January to help draw up plans.
The petition you need to sign to keep the Red Arrows in Lincolnshire
Visit Lincoln and The Lincolnite have been running an official petition to keep the Red Arrows in Lincolnshire once RAF Scampton closes. The petition has over 6,100 signatures.
Lydia Rusling, Chief Executive of Visit Lincoln, said: “As the organisation responsible for tourism in Lincolnshire we are very encouraged to hear that the Red Arrows may stay in the county.
“We have been working alongside The Lincolnite and partners to show our county’s passion and pride in the Red Arrows to keep them in Lincolnshire.
“Our rich aviation heritage attracts people from all over the world, and seeing the Red Arrows regularly in the Lincolnshire skies ensures our connection remains a delight for both residents and visitors.”
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