Red Arrows over RAF Scampton

Red Arrows Base 'In Poor State Of Repair'

It was revealed earlier this year that the Lincolnshire station will be closed and sold off in 2022.

Red Arrows over RAF Scampton

Scampton celebrated its centenary in 2016 (Picture: Crown Copyright).

RAF Scampton is "not in good condition" and "would require significant investment to restore it to a suitable standard", MPs have heard.

It was revealed in July that the Lincolnshire station will be closed and sold off in 2022 as part of plans revealed two years ago to save nearly £3 billion by the year 2040, reducing the Ministry of Defence (MOD)'s built estate by 30%.

The RAF Aerobatics Team will be moved to other locations following the closure.

RAF Scampton was used by 617 Squadron, known as the Dambusters, on May 16, 1943, during their Second World War mission to attack the dams of the Ruhr valley.

MP for Lincoln Karen Lee led a debate in parliament asking for more clarity on the rationale behind the decision to close the base, saying thousands wanted the Red Arrows to remain there.

Defence Minister Tobias Ellwood was there to represent the MOD and told MPs while he understood the decision had caused upset, it has been made for the right financial reasons.

Red Arrows Hawk jets
Scampton employs 600 people and has been home to the Red Arrows display team for over 20 years (Picture: Crown Copyright).

Ms Lee told the debate: "The MOD has ploughed on and announced that RAF Scampton is to be closed and sold off.

"Whilst the MOD has made this decision, it's ultimately the result of government cuts which have forced this step to have to be taken.

"Never have I had members of the public actually queueing down the high street to sign a petition with such passion," she said.

"We're calling first of all for the Red Arrows to stay in Lincolnshire - that's an absolute must," the Labour MP continued.

"Secondly, to make public the rationale and impact the closure will have on the UK's defences," she continued.

Red Arrows Stock Photo at RAF Scampton [MOD]
In July, Downing Street insisting the base's closure will save taxpayers £140 million (Picture: Crown Copyright).

Ms Lee went on to say she wanted a consultation to be undertaken with local and national stakeholders and a full impact assessment on how local workers will be affected.

In response, Defence Minister and Tobias Ellwood and Lieutenant Colonel in the Army Reserve said: "RAF Scampton is not in good condition.

"Some buildings have changed little since World War Two itself, the station is in a poor state of repair, as indeed is the runway itself.

"It would require significant investment to restore it to a suitable standard for the aircraft that we actually use today.

"I absolutely recognise the passion that's come... the sense of nostalgia that comes from the difficulties in making these tough choices.

"It would simply not be an efficient use of public money for the Royal Air Force to retain this particular site purely for heritage reasons."