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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 March 2006, 16:48 GMT
Last signal for Unst radar base
RAF Saxa Vord
The station's closure will hit the island's population
The Royal Air Force has ended its near 50-year association with the Shetland community of Unst after closing its radar base.

More than 100 jobs have been lost at the Saxa Vord early warning station after the need for it diminished following the end of the Cold War.

The departure of service personnel and their families will see the island's population drop by a quarter to 500.

An RAF Nimrod made a flypast to mark the occasion.

In a response to the jobs blow, renewable energy projects are up and running and the island's fish farming businesses are expanding.

Whisky distillery

There are also plans to build a whisky distillery at the base.

The station's flag was lowered for the last time on Wednesday afternoon, ending the RAF's special relationship with the UK's most northerly community.

RAF spokesman Michael Mulford described the base's closure as "the end of an era".

The station will be placed on a care-and-maintenance basis, meaning it is effectively closed but that the operational part of the site could be reactivated if required.

The decision to mothball the base is part of the MoD's modernisation plans for the armed forces.




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Watch the RAF bid farewell to the island



SEE ALSO:
'No funds' for closing radar base
24 Aug 05 |  Scotland
Delay call over Unst RAF closure
28 Jul 05 |  Scotland
Jobs crisis spurs on Shetlanders
21 Jul 05 |  Scotland


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