campaign group launches fightback against Wales plan

  • Post last modified:May 29, 2024
  • Reading time:8 mins read

A new campaign calling itself PARC Against DARC has announced its official launch on Wednesday 29 May, aiming to stop UK/US/Australia militaries’ plans to create a 27-dish ‘Deep Space Advanced Radar Concept’ – ‘DARC’ high-power radar station at Cawdor Barracks, Brawdy, Pembrokeshire, in the heart of the St. David’s peninsula.


Their brand new website, comes as part of the launch and states that the proposals are:

One of the most health-hazardous, tourism-ruining, skyline blighting military installations ever proposed anywhere in the UK.

As part of ‘AUKUS’ – the three-way security pact between Australia, the UK, and the US – the military plans are to build three DARC radar installations around the world, one in each of the three countries. The radars would track foreign countries’ communications and military satellites in space, so that British, US, and Australian aircraft could then destroy them with anti-satellite missiles at will.

This prompts the question on the PARC Against DARC website:

When did Dewisland, Pembrokeshire or humankind ever vote for the US military to control all of space?

A scoping report was submitted to Pembrokeshire County Council last year and in attempts to sell the project in a press release the US/UK Military made claims that the project would create one hundred new jobs. However, campaigners say these jobs would be mostly for American specialists and not locals, so in real terms this equates to a massive 300 job loss at the existing site.

PARC Against DARC is launching what it describes as an “extremely robust campaign website, ‘ram-packed’ with calls to action” along with social media pages, a petition, a campaign crowdfunder as well as lobbying tools.

Multiple arguments against DARC

The website outlines several key arguments against DARC including the a security argument, an environmental argument and a health argument, in which it describes “a litany of potential health risks”, stating:

The science is crystal clear, and decades of research show it: The higher incidence rates of cancers and other health complications experienced by residential populations in the closest vicinity of some particularly higher-powered, long range broadcast-capable radiofrequency installations are undeniable.

The campaign launch comes in response to announcements from the UK government’s defence minister Grant Shapps last December that St David’s is their ‘preferred UK site’ for the DARC radar array.

Campaigners point out that while the Ministry of Defence (MoD) might usually be shrouded in secrecy, it simply wouldn’t be right for it to use this lack of transparency to push through dangerous and potentially hazardous plans such as these. Therefore the onus and responsibility is squarely on the MoD to prove the safety of such a vast and environmentally impactful infrastructure proposal. They have a duty of care to do so.

PARC Against DARC will host a public launch meeting at Solva Memorial Hall at 7pm on Thursday 27 June where speakers and experts will update on the unfolding situation.

There will also be an open discussion at the meeting where all concerned parties can discuss plans to oppose the proposals and to get involved in the campaign. Organisers invite all residents, local businesses and elected representatives who have concerns about DARC to attend the meeting and make their voice heard.

Second time around for PARC

This isn’t the first time this battle has been fought.

PARC (Pembrokeshire Against Radar Campaign) was originally set up back in 1990 when the US Military attempted to build a similar radar installation on the Dewisland peninsula back then.

However, the PARC Campaign was so successful and achieved such strong support both locally and nationally that in 1991, Margaret Thatcher (the then-UK prime minister) was forced to publicly announce cancellation of the project in parliament.

Campaigners say that the strength of public opposition to the radar also led to the sitting Conservative MP Nicholas Bennett losing his seat in parliament.

The revamped 2024 operation already boasts an impressive and formidable level of support ranging from local, Welsh and UK organisations such as CND and Stop the War Coalition, as well as individual supporters such as Leanne Wood, Labour’s Beth Winter (MP for Cynon Valley), and Plaid Cymru’s Heledd Fychan MS for South Wales Central.

Campaigners say they especially encourage local businesses organisations and individuals to add their name to the growing list of supporters, highlighting that this support will be vital to demonstrate a vast and diverse range of opposition to the proposals.

Making Wales vulnerable

Anthony Slaughter, leader of Wales Green Party, said:

Wales Green Party fully supports the PARC campaign and will work together with them and others to resist the proposed Deep Space Advanced Radar Concept (DARC) being built in Pembrokeshire.

The proposed facility will make this part of Wales vulnerable to future attacks as part of any resulting conflict triggered by its use and represents an unacceptable militarisation of space. In an increasingly unstable world with multiple conflicts raging across the globe and impacting heavily on the poorest and most vulnerable communities.

The UK government should not be cooperating in this drive to extend these wars into space. Governments at every level have a duty to work towards creating a fairer, more equal and peaceful world for future generations and should play no part in this dangerous escalation of warmongering.

We also note the potential health risks and environmental damage that this project would cause which also underline the urgent need for this campaign to be supported at both local and national levels.

Stop the DARC

A spokesperson from PARC Against DARC concluded:

The fight is on! We fully intend to win the battle to stop the radar as they did in the 90’s. The MOD are making out as if it’s just a formality to gain planning permission for this huge project, even insinuating in their press that they just need to ‘run it past the local parish council’ or such like.

This is simply not the case; we know that major infrastructure projects like these require specialist planning permission which can only be granted by Pembrokeshire County Council, and that there will be several environmental impact assessment stages they’d have to clear long before they could ever begin building.”

Our plan is to fight them at every level and on every front to make absolutely sure that these proposals are never passed by our elected representatives in County Hall. We will build on the strong history of the previously victorious campaign and echo all of its strengths & successes.

Last time there were huge rallies, marches and demonstrations and ultimately the entire county stood strong together to fight off the proposals. We are absolutely confident that we will create this avalanche of opposition once again so that these plans will never see the light of day.

Featured image via PARC Against DARC

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