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Date: Sat, 4 May 2002 14:38:35 EDT
Subject: Fylingdales: security plans: latest
WoMenwith Hill Women's Peace Camp
Flyindales planning application
letters urgently needed
The North York Moors Planning Committee meets next Thursday, May 9th to consider the 'retrospective' plans for the security upgrades, which are evidently in anticipation of 'Star Wars' at Fylingdales. By last Friday the Chief Planning Officer had received 93 letters of objection. Next Wednesday, May 9th, is the final date for receipt of submissions, can we rustle up enough get the numbers into three-figures?
[see below for] the submission from the WoMenwith Hill Women's Peace Camp(aign). This summarises some interesting developments; spare a minute to skim it (er, six pages, but distilled wotsit).
... You don't have to write all of it. A couple of sentences is sufficient ...
If we're not vigilant then Star Wars will be introduced piecemeal and will be in place before people wake up to it.
WOMENWITH HILL WOMEN'S PEACE CAMP[AIGN] P.O. BOX 105
Mrs V A Dilcock,
Chief Planning Officer,
North York Moors National Parks' Authority, The Old Vicarage,
Dear Mrs Dilcock,
Re: Application for construction of an internal security patrol track (part
retrospective) and erection of portakabin Gate House at RAF Fylingdales, Pickering
- Grid Ref. SE 85929 96726
SUBMISSION ON BEHALF OF WOMENWITH HILL WOMEN'S PEACE CAMP[AIGN]
Please appraise the Planning Committee of the North York Moors National Parks
Authority [NYMNPA] of the following points, which we should like the Members to
consider before making their decision whether or not to approve the above Planning
On January 31st 2002, we submitted to Mr C J Duke, Senior Estates' Advisor,
Ministry of Defence Estates' Agency [North], a complaint about the unauthorised
construction of security installations, which four of us had observed while walking
in the Fylingdales area.
A copy of that complaint, supported by Alice Mahon [MP for Halifax, West Yorkshire]
went to the Secretary of State for Defence, Geoff Hoon. Replies were received from
Dr Lewis Moonie, Under Secretary of State for Defence, P L Hill, Defence Estates'
Agency Secretariat and the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Select Committee.
We have since had further correspondence with Lewis Moonie and P L Hill.
Copies of all the correspondence are appended.
[NB This correspondence has not yet finished].
On February 6th following a meeting with Lord Judd, Emma Loat, Secretary, Council
for National Parks [CNP], issued a Press Release in which the CNP 'expressed
concern that new development has taken place at the Fylingdales military base in
the North York Moors National Park without planning permission.' Geoff Hoon was
questioned in the House of Commons on February 11th, when he acknowledged the
planning blunder. (Hansard: 11.02.02) Alice Mahon used the argument that Parliament
is kept in the dark about such matters of national importance, in her contribution
to the Defence Debate on February 14th. (Hansard: 14.02.02) [Enclosed]
1. LEGAL CONSIDERATIONS:
The first consideration for the Planning Committee must be whether or not the MoD's
Planning Application [PA] is lawful and if not, whether the Members can lawfully
decide to approve it and what their legal position would be if they were to
authorise unlawful developments.
Three questions need to be addressed:
A. What are the consequences of abolition of the Anti-Ballistic Missile [ABM]
B. Can Defence Lands be used for other than UK national security purposes? [i.e.
by a foreign power in the exercise of its independent national defence?]
C. Is the PA anathema to the Rights of Common?
A. Consequence of abolition of ABM Treaty:
The law, the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949, allows
development within a National Park only if the UK Government can prove an
overwhelming need for it on grounds of national security and there is no possible
The following information, extracted from the PA archives in the NYMPNA
Planning Office, relates to the installation of the US Ballistic Missile Early
Warning System [BMEWS] Phased Array Radar [PAR] pyramid and its infrastructure. We
believe it has significant implications for continuance of the existing operations
in the National Park and for any further development of any nature on the site,
such as this PA, including the possibility of the use of Fylingdales for US Missile
The justification for the installation of the BMEWS PAR pyramid in the National
Park and not at any other location was given as follows:
Report from North York Moors National Parks Development Control sub-Committee.
8th October 1986:
35. '...the reason for modernising at Fylingdales rather than moving elsewhere is
to avoid any accusation that the United States Government was in breach of the
Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty...' 37. 'Even to the Ministry cost is not the
determining factor...' 39. 'The Ministry expanded on the Notice of Proposed
Development as follows - "The Notice of Proposed Development states that to start
afresh at a different site would give rise to questions in relation to the United
States' obligations under the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. It is very difficult
to be precise on this point since the underlying issue of International Law
involves the interpretation of a Treaty to which the British Government was not a
party. Although the 1972 ABM Treaty between the United States of America and the
Soviet Union places constraints on the deployment of Early Warning Radars, it does
not preclude the modernisation of those Ballistic Missile Early Warning Systems
which are already in existence when the Treaty came into force. After very careful
consideration and the closest consultation with the US government, the British
government has concluded that the modernisation programme at RAF Fylingdales
conforms fully with the obligation of the US government under the Treaty. Any
proposal to erect a modernised system at a site elsewhere would give rise to
questions in relation to those obligations." '
Does this not mean that when the USA unilaterally withdraws from the ABM Treaty in
June of this year, as it has announced, then the BMEWS operations ought to be
removed from the National Park and the moor restored? This is the commitment made
by the Ministry of Defence at the time.
Although this plan has come before the NYMNPA for consideration while the ABM
Treaty still exists, yet the continuation of the incomplete work is scheduled to
take place between July and February - after the Treaty has been abolished. [See PA
Environmental Impact Assessment page 8, paragraph 2].
Cost and inconvenience is not a consideration. The Ministry of Defence must comply
with the law and honour its commitments.
B. Use of Defence Lands for other than UK national security purposes:
The 1961 BMEWS development, the notorious 'golf balls', had some relevance to then
perceived national defence interests: 'Fylingdales' primary purpose is to detect
ballistic missiles launched from the Soviet Union towards the United States.
Secondarily it searches for and tracks ballistic or submarine-launched missiles
aimed at the United Kingdom or US forces in Europe. It fills a slight gap in radar
coverage of missile sites which might be constructed in the western provinces of
the USSR. A third major role, and one always underplayed in official publicity, is
Fylingdales' part in the US space intelligence system SPADATS (Space Data and
Tracking System).' [Duncan Campbell. The Unsinkable Aircraft Carrier. 1986].
In February 1960 the Secretary of State for Air announced to the House of Commons
that agreement had been reached with the United States Government for BMEWS at
Fylingdales. The public was led to believe that we should be given 'four minutes
warning' of an attack by nuclear-armed ballistic missiles launched by the USSR.
Since the end of the 'Cold War', Fylingdales no longer functions to protect any
perceived security interests of the United Kingdom.
Evidence indicates that this PA for security upgrades at Fylingdales is preparatory
to an announcement that the UK Government has granted permission for the use of
Fylingdales for US National Missile Defense [NMD].
The PA does not present any justification for the developments except for the
statement: 'PURPOSE OF DEVELOPMENT To improve security at RAF Fylingdales.' This
fails to give any explanation, but the justification is given in the correspondence
from Dr Lewis Moonie and P L Hill: 'The explanation for the work carried out at
Fylingdales and Menwith Hill is straightforward. The incursion at Menwith Hill in
July last year, the increased threat of public protest activity and the events of
11 September together gave rise to a perceived need to improve the security of
Fylingdales and other sites…' [Lewis Moonie to Alice Mahon, 3 April 2002 ].
The accompanying plans, however, were completed and signed on 17/9/01.
The 'SPECIFICATION AND SCHEDULE OF WORKS FOR INTERNAL PERIMETER ACCESS ROAD AT RAF
FYLINGDALES FOR SERCO LIMITED' was despatched to Defence Lands [N] by Fax on '?
8/09 01 TUE 15:39 FAX 01904 766186 DOSSOR GROUP' It is inconceivable that
these security measures resulted from the events of September 11th. This would have
required determining what measures to introduce, tendering, awarding the contract,
surveying the site, engineering construction analysis and drawing up plans within
four working days.
Inevitably we must conclude that these security upgrades are in response to the
[Greenpeace anti-'Star Wars'] '…incursion at Menwith Hill in July last year,
[and] the increased threat of public protester activity…' The security measures
are designed to forestall the anticipated anti-'Star Wars' protests, which
presupposes that there will be 'Star Wars' to protest about.
They cannot be designed to resist a 'terrorist' attack, because they are totally
[They are also useless to prevent incursions by peace activists - even armed
military battalions failed to keep Greenham Common peacewomen out of the base].
We have already questioned Geoff Hoon about the use of UK defence lands for US NMD.
We asked whether the UK government can lawfully grant permission for the use, by a
foreign power for its own independent defence purposes, of lands held in trust for
the defence of people of the UK. [Letter from Helen John and Anne Lee to Geoff
Hoon, supported by Harold Best MP March 2001].
We have pointed out that the US bases were established under the North Atlantic
Treaty Organisation [NATO] Status of Forces Agreement [London, June 1951]
ostensibly for our protection. US NMD is not a NATO project. It would serve no NATO
purpose, nor would it contribute in any way to the defence of the UK We also
questioned whether US NMD bases in Britain can be perceived as putting the people
of this country in danger from retaliatory attacks by enemies of the USA. The
government may act only in the interest of the safety of the realm.
The questions we asked were in conjunction with installation of components of US
NMD, the Space Based Infra Red System [SBIRS], at Menwith Hill.
We received a reply from John Spellar, then Minister of State for the Armed Forces,
which evaded the questions. He stated that even if the government were to refuse
permission for US NMD, NATO would still require SBIRS at Menwith Hill.
No such NATO justification can be argued for the BMEWS operations at Fylingdales,
nor to any upgrade of that system, nor to any upgrade of security preparatory to
the use of the base for US MD.
This PA cannot be detached from its 'Star Wars' context.
C. Are the PA security upgrades anathema to the Rights of Common?
Defence Lands are regulated by the provisions of the Military Lands Act 1892 [later
amended to incorporate the Royal Air Force and the NATO Visiting Forces].
The purpose of the Act, which was passed by a largely land-owning Parliament, was
intended to curb the power of the War Department [now the MoD]. It imposes
constraints on the use of the land. Two of its conditions are preservation of
Rights of Way and Rights of Common.
The Right exercised by the Goathland Moor Commoners is principally the grazing of
sheep on the moor. Commoners opposed the compulsory purchase of their Rights in
1961. Rights of Common, however, are invested in the property, not the person.
Although the Commoners may be coerced into waiving the exercise of their Rights,
they cannot be coerced into disposing of the inheritance of future occupiers of the
properties in which the Rights are invested. We are concerned that the
extinguishment of the Commoners' Rights in 1961 was improperly conducted and
spurious, but we do not feel competent to judge the issue.
We therefore submit all the recent correspondence on this issue for your attention.
We believe that the Planning Committee should have the benefit of legal opinion
before proceeding to consider any further submissions.
2. ENVIRONMENTAL CONSIDERATIONS
The National Parks are a treasure for everybody, not just those who live in the
area. We all pay taxes for their preservation. They are the heritage we bequeath
our future generations. We believe that the opinions of those people, such as
ourselves, who enjoy the recreational amenity of North York Moors, are as valid as
those of its residents. We would request that the Council Planning Committee
members allot equal weight to all representations.
We have inspected the plans. It is evident that they are substantial, particularly
a. detrimental visual impact on the landscape,
b. deleterious effect on a Site of Special Scientific Interest
c. disturbance of a Site of Archaeological Significance.
The environmental objections presented by the National Park Consortium to the
Public Inquiries examining the Ministry of Defence proposals for the Otterburn
Training Area, Northumberland National Park, are generally relevant to this
Fylingdales PA. That analysis of the destructive impact was meticulously researched
and articulately argued. We do not need to reiterate that representation.
We appreciate that the Planning Committee is probably more familiar than we are
with the MoD's typical insensitive treatment of the National Parks, Areas of
Outstanding Natural Beauty and other areas of unspoilt countryside. We request that
this PA be viewed in that larger context.
We enclose the following selected sample of documentary evidence:
i. Memorandum submitted by the Green Minister, Ministry of Defence. [House of
Commons Select Committee on Environmental Audit. 16 June 1998] The Ministry of
Defence made non-specific proposals for initiating an environmental enhancement
strategy. We are not aware of any practical measures, which have been implemented.
ii. Memorandum from the Council for National Parks 'ON THE MINISTRY OF DEFENCE -
STRATEGIC ENVIRONMENTAL APPRAISAL OF THE STRATEGIC DEFENCE REVIEW AND THE RURAL
ESTATE STRATEGY' [House of Commons Select Committee on Environmental Audit. 09 July
1999] The CNP welcomed the '…change in direction by the MoD…'
iii. 'Major military development for National Park: decision condemned' [Press
release issued by CNP. 04 October 2001] 'The Council for National Parks today has
condemned the Secretary of State's conditional approval for a major military
development that will irreparably scar the Northumberland National Park [Otterburn]
and blight people's enjoyment of it.'
At the same time as Geoff Hoon's announcement approving the construction of roads
at Otterburn, the MoD was engaged in the unauthorised construction of a road at
Specific to these particular plans we should like to make the following additional
points: No photographs, which the Planning Committee could examine to assess the
environmental impact of the partially completed work, have been submitted with the
PA. May we suggest that a site visit be arranged so that the members can see it for
Visual Impact: Fylingdales base is elevated in the surrounding countryside. The
existing structures, particularly the massive PAR BMEWS pyramid, incongruously
dominate the moorland landscape. These plans further degrade the landscape amenity.
The Ministry of Defence Police Gate House: is part of a Control Post which consists
of a tripod-mounted security light, brightly painted barriers and prominently
displayed warning notices, all of which have been installed without planning
clearance. The plan for a replacement Gatehouse is designed to give this Control
Post more permanence. It should not be considered in isolation from the other
elements. It is located near the junction of the base access road and the main
Pickering - Whitby highway. In an area of panoramic high moorland its presence and
the staffing by armed, MoD police wearing yellow day-glo-jackets, is a focus for
attention. Thus it constitutes a distraction to motorists; detracts from the scenic
beauty and advertises the presence of the base.
No pictorial image of the new Gate House accompanies this application. There are no
concessions to the incongruous appearance of the structures.
The 'patrol track', an obvious light brown scar, visible from the public footpath a
considerable distance away, is made more noticeable because of its position between
the two security fences alongside it. From some viewpoints these are silhouetted on
In our January 31st letter of objection we also objected to the unauthorised inner
fence, consisting of coiled razor-wire attached to embedded metal posts. Similar
security fences were erected at Greenham Common to deter the peacewomen from
incursions into the base. As a security measure it proved to be completely useless.
The peacewomen simply threw a piece of carpet over it, or we flattened it down with
our feet while other women walked over it. After some time it went rusty, was a
hazard to the patrol dogs and had to be removed. In appearance from the public
footpath, the Fylingdales inner fence appears to be about three metres high and a
comparable width. It is unsightly.
We have made several complaints about the shredded plastic rubbish flapping on the
razor-wire at Menwith Hill, on the border of the Nidderdale Area of Outstanding
We made further complaint on January 31st about the excavation of a ditch. When a
similar moat was excavated at Menwith Hill in the 1980's, we were told it was an
'anti-tank trap'. Who is going to drive tanks across the North York Moors to attack
this base? The Commoners of Goathland?
We believe that the Environmental Impact Assessment and the Archaeological Survey
should have been conducted by inspectors, who are totally independent of this PA,
so that the Planning Committee could have confidence in the impartiality of their
We should welcome the opportunity a Public Inquiry would give us to enlarge on
these and many more detailed points we should like to be considered.
We believe that the Planning Application should be 'called in' by the Secretary of
State for Defence, either to be subjected to a non-statutory inquiry, as specified
in the provisions of the DoE Circular 18/84, under which this application has been
Because of its controversial nature, the Secretary of State should waive the right
for the application to be considered under the 18/84 procedure and allow it to be
subjected to the normal planning process.
If the NYMNPA Planning Committee members vote to abstain on the decision or move
'next business', would this not initiate the process of a Public Inquiry?
road protests 2002
| road protests (current)
| movement links