The Government has announced that a purpose-built helicopter hangar will now be built at the Kent airport to house the search and rescue fleet.

The Department for Transport has announced that Lydd Airport, Kent, will be the permanent base for the UK Coastguard’s search and rescue helicopter fleet in the south-east.

The UK Search and Rescue Helicopter Service has operated out of Lydd Airport on a temporary basis since August 2015.

The decision to make this arrangement permanent will enable the operators, Bristow Helicopters Ltd, to push ahead with plans to build a new £7 million search and rescue helicopter hangar at the airport.

The new hangar will house two state-of-the-art search and rescue helicopters that will operate a lifesaving service around the clock.

In a joint statement from the Department for Transport and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency on 13 April, the Transport Minister Robert Goodwill said: “The UK Coastguard’s Search and Rescue Team in Lydd already play a vital role in emergency lifesaving operations in the south-east and the decision to make this the permanent base for the service will be much welcomed by the crew and the operator.

“This will give the crew real certainty about their future with the service, allowing them to put down roots in the local community, and will allow Bristow Helicopters Ltd to push ahead with their plans to build a new, state-of-the-art facility.” he concluded.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency and its contractor Bristow Helicopters will be working closely with the airport owners and the local community at Lydd over the coming months as the development of this new facility starts.