May 16, 2019 4.28 pm This story is over 60 months old

Minister ‘recognises campaigners’ passion’ to keep Red Arrows

The reds could soon have a new home

A government minister said he “completely recognises the passion” that campaigners have to keep the Red Arrows in Lincolnshire, but added that no formal decision has been made on their new base.

Stuart Andrew MP, minister for defence procurement, said all options are being considered for the reds.

RAF Waddington is on the shortlist of sites for where the team could be relocated.

But, Mr Andrews, who was visiting the Waddington base to announce a new RAF simulation technology contract, said no decision has been made by the government.

Stuart Andrew MP, Minister for Defence Procurement, on the airfield at RAF Waddington during his visit. Photo: Calvin Robinson for The Lincolnite

“I completely recognise the passionate campaign that local people have had for this,” he said.

“Clearly the Red Arrows is something that people in Lincolnshire and the whole country love.

“But all I can say at the moment is that everything is being considered and no decision has yet being made.”

The Ministry of Defence (MOD) revealed in March that RAF Waddington is being considred as a site where the team could be relocated to following the closure of RAF Scampton in 2022.

The government confirmed the closure of Scampton last year, throwing the future of the site and the Red Arrows into doubt.

The Red Arrows flying over their home city. Photo: Mike Ling

A consultation on the airspace that the team would fly in has been launched by the MOD.

Alongside Waddington, RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire and RAF Wittering near Peterborough, Cambridgeshire, are the two other possible locations for the reds.

Lincolnshire County Council’s executive councillor for economy, Colin Davie, said previously that local people needed to “make the argument” for the Red Arrows to remain in the region.

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 the base.

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

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.”

SUBSCRIBE TO LOCAL DEMOCRACY WEEKLY, our exclusive email newsletter with highlights from our coverage every week and insights and analysis from our local democracy reporters.