MP’s con­cern over nu­clear con­voys trav­el­ling on M74

Rutherglen Reformer - - News - Dou­glas Dickie

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.”

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