For immediate release: 28 November 2003

The Yorkshire Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, the specialist Star Wars wing of the national organisation, today rejected the significance of a report from Scarborough, Whitby and Ryedale Primary Care Trust which implies that RAF Fylingdales poses no radiation risk to the local community, calling it noticeably insufficient in key areas.

The report, published today, states that there is no evidence of a link between RAF Fylingdales and cancer registrations in the region. The report found no significant difference in the pattern of cancer occurrences from 1991 and 1999 between the trust area and the Northern and Yorkshire Region as a whole. However, Yorkshire CND has pointed to a number of broader concerns that the study has not considered. Namely:

1) The radar beam is a health concern not only because of the levels of radiation but the fact that the radiation pulses rapidly from high to low levels. This rare type of radiation has not been properly investigated and the potential health effects are unknown. One study that did investigate this type of radiation concluded that there are possible effects on hormones and the heart that are of concern.

2) The study only uses old data from an 8 year period. This study is taking place in response to a similar study around a similar radar base at Cape Cod in the USA. The US Government has invested millions of dollars to fully investigate that base and is initiating new, in-depth cancer studies. The UK government should show the same commitment and investigate fully using new data.

3) The long-term health effects of this type of radiation are unknown. No evidence of a link between RAF Fylingdales and cancer registrations in the region does not allow one to conclude that the base poses no health risks.

CND Star Wars Campaigner and Yorkshire CND Development Worker Neil Kingsnorth said,
“We are glad that this study took place but only as a first step to further investigation. The report is useful but its remit is insufficient. Fylingdales poses a potential threat to health through the rare type of pulsed radiation and through the long-term effects of the radar’s beam. The government has a responsibility to fully investigate the whole spectrum of potential health effects of this type of radar, over the long-term and short term, and to study the type of radiation itself, which is little understood. This report has not done that. We will be pursuing the issue further to find out what steps the government plans to take next to implement a full, significant investigation.”

Yorkshire CND has campaigned for years on the issues of Fylingdales, Star Wars and wider nuclear issues. Its members include experts on the base and its radiation and the regional office is responsible for CND’s national star wars campaign. The Yorkshire CND website contains detailed information on the base, including reports on the potential health effects of the radiation – and click on “The Fylingdales Site”.


1) For further information, comment and interviews contact Neil Kingsnorth on 07818 411823
2) Yorkshire CND is one of the country’s leading NGOs campaigning on star wars, space weapons and the Fylingdales and Menwith Hill bases. We always welcome press enquiries and comment.