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Nottingham Post
Nottingham Post
Laycie Beck

Syerston residents divided over Red Arrows 'low-flying' training over village

Residents have mixed views after the Red Arrows were granted permission to conduct low-flying training over a nearby airbase whilst the iconic team searches for a new training location. From Monday, January 9, until Monday, April 17 2023, the Civil Aviation Authority has given the team permission to practice flights over RAF Syerston, Flintham.

Located between Bingham and Newark, off the A46, it has been suggested the Red Arrows' presence will have a minimal disruption on the area, but there is expected to be an increase in noise when the team is training. However, it is thought to be unlikely that the Red Arrows would use every training slot in the allocated 90 day period, and it is believed they will maximise their training in the first 6 to 8 weeks.

The RAF has stated: "The MOD is selling RAF Scampton which it hopes to complete in early 2023 and the [Red Arrows] will relocate to RAF Waddington prior to this date. The MOD is exploring alternative airspaces to enable the Red Arrows to continue to train.

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"RAF Syerston has been identified as potentially suitable. To determine whether RAF Syerston is a viable option for establishment of new permanent airspace, a temporary airspace structure is required to test the site and assess what the impact would be on local aviation and ground stakeholders."

Residents in the village have spoken out about their reaction to the news, and although many are excited about the prospect of being able to see the Red Arrows on a regular basis, many others have expressed concerns. Eco-florist, Fiona Nicholass, 55, of Syerston, said: "I didn't know anything about it.

"First of all we are quite an environmentally friendly household, so I'm not too happy with planes flying all over the place but I understand that national security requires people to be trained. I understand both points of view.

General view of RAF Syerston, Flintham (Laycie Beck)

"I don't like people flying planes around for no reason, but I have family in the military so I completely understand about training, and they need to train somewhere."

When asked if she was looking forward to being able to see the Red Arrows from her doorstep, Fiona replied: "No not really. I'm not a big fan of anything like that.

"I can't understand why people would want to look at that, they are just burning a lot of fossil fuel." She added that she had concerns about the impact the training could have on the local environment and wildlife.

Retired Christine Kilminster has lived in Syerston for more than 30 years. When asked if she was looking forward to having the Red Arrows nearby, she said: "Yeah definitely, because we love seeing them fly over here.

"We don't always get them coming over this site. I think the whole village is for it, but what they are not for is how everyone parks on the roads and are here for hours.

"I think they ought to regulate that more as they are there all day and leave litter. It's the people that leave all the rubbish behind that cause problems."

Christine added: "When we were building this house the Red Arrows came over and we got some lovely photos from the roof. I would like it to carry on not just for the three months but for them to continue after."

General view of Syerston (Laycie Beck)

Plasterer Aaron Lambert, 50, said: "Yeah I think it's great to be fair. They don't cause any problems and I quite like to see them fly around.

"We've had them before and they have been fine, never a problem. We sometimes get the spitfire fly over as well."

He added that there have been previous concerns from some residents about spectators parking nearby and leaving a mess, but it's on the opposite side of the village and so he hasn't really witnessed it.

When asked her thoughts on the Red Arrows Elaine Shipton, 65 and retired, said: "We get them over here anyway so they have done performances over here before. I'm sure it will be fine."

Elaine explained that she was looking forward to watching them train and practice. She said: "I have seen them when I have been out walking the dogs before and I did also see them at a show in Lincoln where they did the show.

"It's very nice that we get a free performance. I think people only object when people come here and park their cars all over Longhedge Lane."

Chairman of the parish council, Geoffrey Hibbert, is not pleased the Red Arrows will be training at Syerston and says despite himself and others making objections during the consultation period only slight changes have been agreed. He believes that it would make more sense for the Red Arrows to train at Doncaster Airport, which has recently closed.

He said: "I think that the RAF choosing Syerston and ignoring its affect on general aviation and aviation generally is a mistake. I think that the impact on some residents in this village has the potential to be quite adverse.

"As the people interested in the Red Arrows come and camp out on Longhedge Lane, they have left litter and they have been careless about the needs of the residents of Longhedge lane, especially those with carer needs with 24 hour access requirements"

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