Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Councillor Bill Risby: Fought For and Won Nuclear Free Pledge

Very sad news. Councillor Bill Risby died yesterday, following a car crash on Moston Lane, possibly related to underlying health issues. Here is Dave Ottewell's tribute:

Bill Risby: a true town hall great

Bill Risby, who sadly died yesterday, left his mark not only on Manchester but on the entire country.
It was Coun Risby who fought for - and won - a declaration that Manchester should be a nuclear-free city in 1980. That triggered similar movements across Britain, and even beyond.
Manchester council has never wavered on that commitment. Even in 2006, when the university was signed up to providing a new generation of nuclear scientists, and the government announced nuclear power was back on the agenda, the town hall stood firm.
"Manchester council does not support the development of a new generation of nuclear power stations," said environment chief Neil Swannick. "We believe nuclear power offers no solution to fuel poverty. It is expensive and the legacy of radioactive waste makes it economically and environmentally unsustainable."
Coun Risby, who was 78, remained active in the campaign. In December 2008 he was elected chairman of the Nuclear Free Local Authorities and pledged to play a full role in consultation about where new nuclear reactors would be sited, and how waste would be dealt with.
He was, throughout three-and-a-half decades in the town hall, also renowned as a superb ward councillor. He was held in the highest regard both inside and outside the council. Coun Risby was, in short, a lesson to all would-be politicians: someone who got involved to make a difference, fought for things he believed in, and left a lasting legacy on the city he cared passionately about.

MAIN PICTURE: Bill Risby was the prime mover for Manchester's Nuclear Free City status and hence for a national and international movement. LOWER PICTURE: Two Japanese ‘Hibakusha’ - people who survived the bomb in Hiroshima - at Manchester's peace statue. Image courtesy of Manchester City Library via 24hourmuseum.

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