Why it makes sense to Make it Marham, minister

A Government minister has confirmed the 'unique' military advantages of RAF Marham over alternative Scottish bases for the UK Tornado fleet.

In a response to a letter from Mid Norfolk MP George Freeman, Minister for Defence Personnel Andrew Robathan MP acknowledged both the investment in Marham's Tornado depth repair facilities and the intelligence provided by the Tactical Imagery Intelligence Wing as being unique to the Norfolk base. Defence chiefs have spent millions re-locating Tornado repair facilities to Marham. It would cost �50m to move them elsewhere.

Mr Robotham was responding to a letter from Mr Freeman outlining the military arguments for keeping RAF Marham open.

Mr Freeman said: 'It is vital that any decisions made by the Government take into account the military and economic advantages of keeping Marham open.

'I'm delighted that the Ministry of Defence have said they will make this decision based on military criteria, as this should put Marham ahead of the pack. 'Norfolk has a deep bond with the Forces and a proud heritage of housing military bases, and I will continue to do all I can to support all efforts to ensure RAF Marham is here to stay.'

The threat of closure still hangs over the west Norfolk base, with the Ministry of Defence yet to conclude its Strategic Defence and Security Review.

Tornado aircraft, which are currently based at Lossiemouth, Leuchars and Marham, are expected to be re-located to a single base.

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A decision is expected to be announced in March.

The fight to save Marham united politicians, businesses and communities across Norfolk.

In November, a Make it Marham delegation travelled to 10 Downing Street to deliver a petition with nearly 37,000 signatures.