Local MPs meet with Defence Minister over future of BAE Woodford

March 4, 2009 10:18 AM

Mark in the cockpit of a Nimrod Aircraft during a recent visit to the Woodford Site

A cross-party group of local MPs met yesterday (3rd March) in London with Government Defence Minister Quentin Davies, to put the case for new aircraft orders for BAE Woodford, which is under the threat of closure.

Liberal Democrat MP Mark Hunter (Cheadle) and Conservative MP Sir Nicholas Winterton (Macclesfield), alongside Hazel Grove MP Andrew Stunell (Liberal Democrat) pressed the Minister to place an order for a further three MR4 Nimrods, in addition to the nine already being constructed at Woodford.

The state-of-the-art surveillance planes would play a key part in Britain's defences, and the new order, to adapt aircraft that are already flying, would provide high tech local jobs and keep Woodford in production for at least another year, to 2013.

The MPs also made the case for the planned 'Helix' project to be carried by three further Nimrods instead of purchasing older American planes.

Following the Meeting, Andrew, Mark and Sir Nicholas released the following joint statement:

"We had a very good hearing from the Minister, and he has agreed to visit BAE Woodford to see the success that the company and the workforce have made of these planes before any final decision on these options is taken.

"We impressed on him the point that the staff at the plant have unrivalled expertise and skills. If the new aircraft are not ordered in the next few months the run-down of Woodford will accelerate, and a highly skilled workforce and technical capability will be lost.

"We will continue to work with the unions and management at Woodford to make the case for what is a modest further investment in a unique aircraft."

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