The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) reaches its 38th anniversary on Monday 5th November, and NFLA staff are involved next week in a considerable amount of activity. This will start in working with the Hiroshima-led Mayors for Peace to facilitate a UK visit to Manchester, Oldham and Coventry by a delegation of Hiroshima Peace Legacy Ambassadors and Readers. (1)
NFLA was established following a Manchester City Council resolution of November 5th 1980, and in its 38 year history has become the principal voice on nuclear issues in local government, as well as a strong advocate for the benefits of decentralised and renewable energy, heat and transport schemes. (2)
NFLA was initially set up during the height of the Cold War when cruise nuclear missiles were being deployed across Europe. The potential abrogation of the INF Treaty by the United States and possibly Russia, as currently threatened by President Trump, could commence a similar new arms race affecting Europe once again. This is at a time when over two thirds of UN members are in the process of signing and ratifying the Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons.
NFLA has had a close relationship for many years with the cities of Hiroshima (President of Mayors for Peace) and Nagasaki (Vice President of Mayors for Peace and Chair of the Japanese NFLA), with the Mayors of both cities having visited Manchester in recent years. Manchester City Council is also a Vice President of Mayors for Peace.
A Hiroshima Peace Culture Foundation / Mayors for Peace recent initiative is to develop a project that will keep the message of the ‘hibakusha’ – the survivors of the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki – alive for generations to come. The average age of the hibakusha is now 82 years old, and so Hiroshima have instigated a project where children and grandchildren of the ‘hibakusha’ can provide their stories on behalf of them, either as a Peace Legacy Ambassador or as a Memoir Reader.
A small delegation from Hiroshima will be in Manchester from 3rd – 7th November. They will walk the Manchester City Centre Children’s Peace Trail on the 4th November, and then will be talking to schoolchildren in Manchester and Oldham on the 5th November. On the 6th November the delegation will meet the Lord Mayor of Manchester, and will then travel on to Hiroshima’s friendship city of Coventry for further school talks on the 7th November. These three Councils are all members of Mayors for Peace.
In the week of the NFLA’s 38th anniversary, its NFLA Scotland Forum will also be holding its autumn meeting on the 8th November in its newest member authority, East Ayrshire Council in Kilmarnock. Its autumn seminar will focus on some of its other policy work, such as its concerns over the transport of nuclear materials, the benefits of a Scottish publicly-owned Energy Company and the risks in restarting the Hunterston B nuclear reactor in Ayrshire, after an increasing number of keyhole cracks have been found in the graphite bricks that surround the reactor. (3)
The NFLA Secretary will also be attending a BEIS NGO Forum special presentation on changes to nuclear emergency planning taking place in London on the 9th October. Such activity shows the ongoing utility and wide range of NFLA policy activity as it goes into its 39th year of operation.
NFLA Steering Committee Chair, Councillor Ernie Galsworthy said:
“I am delighted that a delegation from Hiroshima will be advocating the critical message of Hiroshima and Nagasaki hibakushas to the younger generation on the occasion of our 38th anniversary. That is what NFLA is about – raising the message on the devastating humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons. NFLA is also about raising concerns over the development of nuclear energy facilities, the improvement of nuclear safety and advocating new decentralised, renewable forms of energy, heating and transport. Our work next week shows to our members and further afield that we remain as relevant as ever.”
Ends – for more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 0161 234 3244.
Notes for editors:
(1) The Mayors for Peace delegation of four from Hiroshima include the following people –
Kimiko Kuwamoto (60) – Memoir Reader
Hatsue Kohno (61) – Memoir Reader
Mieko Ozaki (64) – Legacy successor
Kena Hirose (28) – Delegation facilitator
Their schedule is as follows:
November 4th – walking the Manchester City Centre Children’s Peace Trail
November 5th (am) – Hiroshima delegation talk to students of Heald Place Primary School, Manchester, who have a Hiroshima ‘Project G’ gingko tree
November 5th (pm) – Hiroshima delegation talk to members of Oldham Youth Council, the Mayor of Oldham and senior Oldham councillors
November 6th (am) – Hiroshima delegation meet the Lord Mayor of Manchester
November 7th (am) – Hiroshima delegation talk to students in Coventry
(2) NFLA Policy Briefing on latest developments in decentralised energy and the climate change imperative, May 2018
(3) NFLA Scotland autumn seminar, East Ayrshire Council Headquarters, London Road, Kilmarnock, Thursday 8th November, 12.30pm – 2.30pm
- Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary – NFLA’s analysis of nuclear transport concerns in the UK
- Pete Roche, NFLA Scotland Policy Advisor – What could be the benefits of a Scottish publicly owned Energy Company?
- Dr Ian Fairlie, independent consultant on radioactivity in the environment – What are the risks in restarting the Hunterston B nuclear reactor?