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Friday, 3 August, 2001, 14:29 GMT 15:29 UK
Actor calls for 'eyesore' base to go
Fylingdales was described as a "blot" on the landscape
Actor Brian Blessed has called for the Fylingdales early warning base on the North York Moors to be relocated.

The Yorkshire-born actor also condemned proposals to locate the "Son of Star Wars" missile defence project in the national park.

He said the defence system base, which campaigners claim will be used for the controversial project being proposed by the US, was already "a monstrosity to look at".

After being given a guided tour of the base in his new role as president of the Council for National Parks, Blessed said he hoped to discuss the issue with Prime Minister Tony Blair.

'Early warning'

Mr Blessed, 64, said: "You can't have monstrosities like this on the Yorkshire moors - it's ugly and it's an offence to nature.

"The Fylingdales radar base is already a blot on this beautiful moorland landscape and it is unthinkable that President Bush should want to make this a base for his 'Son of Star Wars' project.

Brian Blessed: "Base should be removed"

"Now is the time to remove the whole base from the national park."

Mr Blessed said that he would like to discuss the issue with Mr Blair but would approach the matter "with grace".

He added: "The prime minister should give President Bush early warning that this plan would be unacceptable."

He said that if the US proposals were given the go-ahead, it would be "a disgrace to the countryside".

Childhood visits

The CNP says it has obtained legal advice which it has sent to Stephen Byers, the Secretary for Transport, Local Government and the Regions, reminding the government of its obligations.

According to the council, national parks enjoy the highest status of landscape protection and any proposal would need to be tested to see if it met a "national need" under the government's policies for major developments.

Mr Blessed said the moors were his "favourite part of Yorkshire" which he often visited as a child.

During his visit, Mr Blessed also toured areas of the national park affected by the foot-and-mouth outbreak.

RAF Fylingdales, which boasts a 160 million state-of-the-art radar system, is a joint Ministry of Defence and US Military Ballistic Missile Early Warning System.

See also:

22 Jun 01 | UK Politics
'Star wars threatens new arms race'
04 Jul 01 | UK
The Battle of Menwith
04 Jul 01 | UK
US spy base protest ends
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