May 10, 2019 10.15 am This story is over 53 months old

Just 2k names to go for government response to Red Arrows petition

RAF Waddington is among the shortlisted locations

Less than 2,000 signatures are needed to force a government response to a petition to keep the Red Arrows in Lincolnshire once RAF Scampton closes.

At the time of writing 8,090 people have signed the petition set up by Visit Lincoln and The Lincolnite to help keep the Red Arrows in the county.

The petition is edging closer to the target of 10,000 signatures needed for a government response. If it was to reach 100,000 the petition will be considered for debate in Parliament.

In July 2018 the Ministry of Defence confirmed that RAF Scampton, home of the Red Arrows, will be sold off. The base, which is home to around 600 staff, will close by 2022.

Lincolnshire has strong links with the Royal Air Force since before its founding in 1918. The Royal Air Force Aerobatic Team has been synonymous with Lincolnshire for over 30 years. The Red Arrows team was formed in 1964 and has been based in Lincolnshire since 1983.

Less than 2,000 more signatures are needed to force the government to respond to the petition. Photo: Steve Jollands

The Ministry of Defence revealed in March 2019 that RAF Waddington is on the shortlist of sites where the team could be relocated after the closure of RAF Scampton in 2022.

This is according to a letter to Lincoln MP Karen Lee from Tobias Ellwood, the Minister for Defence.

Some 3,500 service personnel, civil servants and contractors work at RAF Waddington. Pictured is the Air Warfare Centre (AWC), within Thomson Building at the base. Photo: MoD

Alongside Waddington, RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire and RAF Wittering near Peterborough in Cambridgeshire are the other two possible locations. At the time the government said detailed studies for suitability of each base will be carried out.

However, Air Chief Marshal Sir Michael Graydon said the government and the MoD could just be paying lip service to Lincolnshire.

Executive member for economy and place at Lincolnshire County Council, Councillor Colin Davie, previously said he does not want to lose the Red Arrows and would do “everything he can” to lobby for them to stay in the county.

Lincolnshire delegation will be heading to London on June 4 to make the case for the Red Arrows to be retained in the county.