Letter Bridget Gubbins: The death of Martin Forwood, the Cumbrian anti-nuclear campaigner has brought back many memories about the threat to Druridge Bay in Northumberland and all the campaigns across the UK in the 80s and 90s. A whole generation has grown up since those days, when the nuclear industry was backed by the government, which planned a new family of nuclear power stations on coastal sites around the UK. In Northumberland, the state-owned Central Electricity Generating Board spent six months drilling the land and drew up the plans that still shelter in some forgotten drawer. The whole period coincided with government actions to shut down the coal mines, resulting in the miners’ strikes with their associated misery. Electricity generation was to be a battle between coal and nuclear. The Druridge Bay Campaign built up huge momentum, joining with anti-nuclear groups around the country. Gradually, with the support of local authorities including Newcastle city council and Northumberland county council, virtually all north-east MPs and thousands of local people, the threat was driven away in our area. Not everyone was so lucky. Sizewell B was built, and despite all the arguments against it, Hinkley is under construction. Nowadays, the nuclear issue has gone fairly quiet and environmental concerns are focused on the climate emergency. Still, let’s spare a thought for all those ageing campaigners who, like Martin Forwood in Cumbria, worked across the UK against the all-powerful nuclear industry.
Guardian 29th Dec 2019 read more »