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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 September 2006, 17:18 GMT 18:18 UK
Plans to move air ambulance base
Air ambulance
The ambulance service relies on fundraising
A charity that runs an air ambulance service has said plans to move to a new base would improve its outreach and be a "significant boost" to fundraising.

The plans would see the Thames Valley and Chilterns Air Ambulance Trust leaving White Waltham Airfield, Berks, and setting up at RAF Benson, Oxon.

The RAF base has given its approval for the move but final negotiations continue with the local authorities.

Trustees said there would be no adverse affect on response times.

It is a more central location and it's a more secure location.
Graham Groves

The air ambulance, which was set up in 1998, serves people living in Berkshire, Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire and parts of Northamptonshire.

Graham Groves, of the South Central Ambulance Service NHS Trust, told the BBC News website: "It is going to be a better location for us to operate from - it is a more central location and it is a more secure location."

He added that fuel costs at RAF Benson would be cheaper and the maintenance facilities at the base were "extremely good".

"That will be a significant boost to help us with the fundraising," he said.

"All in all it's a very positive step that we're hoping to take, that will contribute to improved operational services."

A spokesman for the MoD said RAF Benson was happy to accommodate the air ambulance at the base, as it would be "good for community and good for the station".

He added that negotiations were taking place to grant a license for the charity to use the land and erect its buildings at the site.

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