MP’s concern over nuclear convoys travelling on M74
Margaret Ferrier MP says the prospect of nuclear weapons being transported through Rutherglen was “absolutely chilling.”
The SNP member for Rutherglen and Hamilton West was speaking after questioning the Minister of State for the Armed Forces, Penny Mordaunt MP, on the issue of nuclear convoys.
Ms Ferrier hosted a Westminster Hall debate on the issue last week.
She told the debate MOD convoys of 20 or more vehicles had travelled on the M74 through Rutherglen three times in the past 18 months.
Convoys had previously avoided Glasgow, travelling up towards Stirling and then turning west towards RNAD Coulport in Argyll.
Ms Ferrier said there had been 70 safety lapses between 2007 and 2012, with the figure increasing.
She added: “In May, the people of Scotland selected 59 MPs; 57 made it clear in their campaigns that they opposed Trident.
“That decision should be respected. Continuing to transport nuclear weapons across Scotland is an insult to the people who live there.”
In response, Ms Mordaunt said: “I make it absolutely clear that the safety of the general public and the security of nuclear weapons convoys are our first priority at all times.
“Safety is paramount during the transportation of defence material, and all appropriate measures are taken to ensure that such weapon convoys can operate safely.”
The Reformer has twice reported allegations that warheads had been transported through he Royal Burgh in the dead of night.
After the debate, Ms Ferrier said: “The purpose of the debate was to highlight the huge danger that the public face due to these weapons of mass destruction. Several times a year, often at the dead of night, these convoys snake their way up from the south of England, through Scotland and Glasgow city centre on the M74.
“It is a deeply worrying practise and poses an unacceptable risk to public.
“It is absolutely chilling just the idea of these weapons being transported by our homes whilst we sleep, but it becomes even more frightening when we see the amount of safety incidents that have happened in the last few years.
“At a time when this UK government is cutting the MOD’s budget from every conceivable angle, decimating conventional forces and making our service men and women redundant, it makes spending £ 100billion on replacing these immoral weapons even harder to swallow.
“Whilst the MOD’s conventional budget is decreasing because of Tory cuts, accidents with transportation of these weapons of mass destruction are increasing.
“There is no absolute safe way to move nuclear warheads. The safest way forward is to scrap Trident and to put an end to nuclear convoys altogether.”
A spokesperson for the MOD said: “It is MOD policy not to comment on the specific routes used by convoys due to the need to protect national security.
“The safety of the public is always our priority and the safety and security of the convoy is carefully considered at all stages of the process and all routes are regularly re-assessed. We always take into account factors such as road and weather conditions and consult with all relevant local agencies.”