Crunch talks aimed at protecting Moray’s last Nimrod from the elements

The group behind Moray’s future Aerospace Museum are hoping talks with UK Defence Minister Andrew Morrison being held today will unlock the doors to a hangar at RAF Kinloss.

Morayvia have stored their centrepiece exhibit for the future aviation museum plans in a hanger at the former Nimrod base, now home for the Army’s 39 Engineering Regiment.

However, just days after a formal naming of Nimrod XV244 by Royal approval as the “Duke of Edinburgh”, defence chiefs have ordered the removal of the aircraft from their hangar. That has sparked fears that the Nimrod could be damaged if left to the elements.

XV244 had been stored in the spare Kinloss hangar for several months with the MoD having agreed to waive the normal £6000 a month fee. That agreement ended days after the naming ceremony and the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) has now ordered the aircraft to be removed.

The decision has sparked anger in Moray with no obvious alternative plans in place for the hangar space and the removal from cover for the aircraft being seen as seriously hampering plans by Morayvia to create the region’s £25million star tourist attraction.

Moray’s MP, Angus Robertson, sought immediate talks with the defence minister and is set to argue Morayvia’s case at a meeting in London today. Mr Robertson said: “I’m grateful that the defence minister has found time to discuss the accommodation of Nimrod XV244.

“There is tremendous support in Moray for protecting the aviation heritage in the region. The RAF and Nimrods’ association with Kinloss is long-standing and continued hangar accommodation for the Nimrod would be extremely welcome.

“I hope the minister is able to influence the DIO to come to a sensible solution.”

The Lord Lieutenant of Moray, Grenville Johnston, has also been in touch with the DIO appealing for a change of heart over the use of the hangar.

Stan Barber, who is Chief Executive of Morayvia, said: “If the hangar was needed and it was going to paying tenants then of course we would not be asking for any kind of priority.

“But when it is an empty hangar it seems a shame to put it outside where it will deteriorate.”