The organiser of Defence Procurement, Research, Technology and Exportability (DPRTE), the UK’s largest arms fair, has relocated the one-day event to Farnborough following an active campaign by local activists.
The event, which was due to take place at the NEC Centre, Birmingham, March 28, will now happen at the Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre – which also serves as a military base.
DPRTE brings together all parts of the arms industry with support from the UK Ministry of Defence and the Department of International Trade, who are listed as event partners but also attend as prospective buyers alongside the US Defence Department.
The decision to move the event follows an active local campaign by local activists, with the Birmingham Stop the Arms Fair group having planned a day of creative actions against the fair.
The decision to hold the event in Birmingham was made in November 2018, with the controversial event having originally been scheduled for Cardiff before its cancellation following similar protests and objections from local people.
Campaigners received an email from the NEC which claimed that due to “the complexity of the NEC campus” the decision was made to move the event following consideration of “the impact of all events on all guests”. The email also said that it was “more appropriate for DPRTE to be hosted at a more self-contained venue”.
Kat Hobbs of Campaign Against Arms Trade, said: “We are very glad that this event has been moved, but the Birmingham NEC should never have agreed to host it in the first place. The NEC should not allow its facilities to be used to support companies that profit from arming and supporting human rights abusing regimes around the world.”