Campaigners hope review will spare RAF Cottesmore

Campaigners who want to save an RAF base in Rutland have said the defence review could be an opportunity.

RAF Cottesmore, which is home to Harrier aircraft, has been earmarked for closure to help pay for the war in Afghanistan.

Officials said the loss could be devastating to the local economy.

But those opposing the move said the government's current review of military spending could show Cottesmore has a future military use.

'Major blow'

Rutland and Melton MP Alan Duncan said although the base could not be saved it is current form, there were other options.

"Campaigners have done a very good job making sure Cottesmore is still on the map as somewhere where other resources can be placed by the MOD once they have done their review."

He added: "If, for instance you are bringing back troops from Germany, which is one of the options on the table, you have to put them somewhere.

"If the main transport fleet, Hercules and so on, move, it could be a perfect base for them - there are all sorts of options."

The leader of Rutland County Council, Roger Beggy, emphasised how important the base was to the area.

"It will be a major blow for us if the RAF disappears. From the point of view of the council it is essential that we keep that economic vibrancy.

"Otherwise the pubs, the shops, the garages in that area will suffer and it is about £31m-£32m that we can't afford to lose from the economy."

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