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Defence Facilities (East Midlands)

Volume 564: debated on Monday 17 June 2013

I believe I can be the first to congratulate my hon. Friend on his well-deserved knighthood.

As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State set out in his army basing plan announcement on 5 March, Cottesmore and North Luffenham will be the focus of one of the seven areas in the UK around which the Army will become increasingly consolidated. The major site for development in the east midlands is Kendrew barracks at Cottesmore, which will be expanded to accommodate an additional unit. North Luffenham will see some minor development and a logistics unit will move into Grantham. The written ministerial statement on 25 March confirmed the vacation of RAF Kirton in Lindsey and the disposal of the former airfield and technical facilities at the site.

It was an honour to sit behind the veterans of the Dambusters raid at its 70th anniversary at RAF Scampton in my constituency. Beside the courage of those men, hon. Members’ efforts in the House look very puny indeed. In the light of the glorious history of RAF Scampton, will the Minister reassure me that the base continues to have a bright operational future?

I am glad to say that I can reassure my hon. Friend. Both the Red Arrows, the RAF aerobatic team, and the air surveillance control system will be retained at the station until at least the end of the decade, although I cannot vouch for whatever happens afterwards, because I will probably have left this place. [Interruption.] It wasn’t that—I was just thinking that, by that time, I will be getting on a bit.