June 1, 2021 5.18 pm This story is over 13 months old

MOD confirms plans to sell RAF Scampton by end of 2022

Reds will still train above Lincolnshire

The Ministry of Defence has confirmed plans to start marketing RAF Scampton for sale by the end of December 2022.

In a letter to Gainsborough MP Sir Edward Leigh, published by the Save Scampton group, Minister of State for Defence Procurement Jeremy Quin said his office had been working with West Lindsey District Council to deliver a future for the site that “provides the greatest benefit for the local community”.

He also confirmed that an “ambitious plan that utilises the whole site is currently under consideration”.

The Red arrows are due to relocate at RAF Waddington, and Mr Quin said their ability to continue training in the airspace above the base would be contingent on the scale and nature of development.

The Reds have touched down at RAF Waddington, ahead of a two week test integration. | Photo: Corporal Adam Fletcher

“However, if development proceeds which prevents this from continuing on safety grounds, the RAF will engage with the Civilian Aviation Authority to explore alternative airspaces in Lincolnshire to allow the Red Arrows to continue to train in the airspace above the county from their new base at RAF Waddington,” he said.

“I am assured by my RAF colleagues that such a resolution is realistically achievable, allowing both the development of RAF Scampton to support local needs and the continued Red Arrows’ presence in the county”.

In February, Sir Edward confirmed the MOD had yet to find private companies interested in securing the site of RAF Scampton for future development, but that the plan was for it to be shut by 2022.

Once RAF Scampton is closed, the Red Arrows will move to RAF Waddington, around 10 miles away from their current home. This came after an official petition with over 11,000 signatures was presented to the government to keep the Red Arrows in Lincolnshire.

MP for Gainsborough, Sir Edward Leigh.

Sir Edward Leigh said at the time that the future of the RAF Scampton base must be decided through an “open and transparent” process.

He said: “RAF Scampton is an important place in the history of our county and our country.

“We need to make sure this history is respected when its defence role ends, but we also need to avoid errors made when the MOD disposed of other RAF bases.”

The MoD has been looking at ways to preserve the aviation heritage of RAF Scampton after its closure. During the Second World War, it was home to 617 Squadron which famously took part in the Dambusters raids in 1943.

An MOD Spokesperson said: “The Ministry of Defence recognises that RAF Scampton is a site of historical significance and will look at options to provide a sustainable solution for preserving the story of the Station after its closure.”