Nae Nukes or Nuclear Convoys

On Saturday 31st August 2019 Scottish Borders Greens launched a Nuclear Convoy Awareness campaign at the South of Scotland Green Gathering in Galashiels.

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The nuclear submarine base at Faslane on the Gare Loch was opened in May 1968 – more than 50 years ago. Less well known is the nearby storage and loading facility for Trident nuclear warheads at Coulport. These bases are not in some remote area of Scotland – they are less than 10 miles from Loch Lomond and only 30 miles from Glasgow!

Several times a year convoys of lorries carrying nuclear warheads travel by road from the Atomic Weapons Establishments at Aldermaston and Burghfield in the South of England to Coulport. When they cross the border into Scotland the convoys travel, during the day, along the A1, A68 and A/M74; three of the busiest roads in the South of Scotland.

convoy on lanark road
Nuclear convoy on Lanark road.
“The threat posed by the convoys is specific, given that the warheads, though unarmed, will contain both high explosive and plutonium and this means that a response to an incident could involve dealing not only with highly toxic radiological substances but also widely distributed and unexploded explosive fragments” (quote from Arthur West, chair of Scottish CND).

blast area of trident

Scotland has been incredibly lucky that no major incidents have occurred during the 50 years that nuclear weapons have been transported around the country.

Currently no local authority has conducted a risk assessment or taken steps to inform the public about the risks in relation to the convoys!

We want your help to protect our communities from the potential devastation that could result from a simple road traffic accident on the A1, the A68 or the A/M74 as weapons grade nuclear material travels by road through the South of Scotland on its way to the Nuclear Submarine base and storage facility on the Gare Loch.

Write to your MP:

  • Ask why the UK has not signed the UN treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons
  • Ask why weapons of mass destruction are being transported by road from the South of England to Central Scotland
  • Ask why the UK Parliament approved Trident replacement at Faslane in June 2018
  • Ask why the decommissioned Resolution nuclear submarines are still in Rosyth Naval Dockyard after more than 30 years (HMS Dreadnought, has been laid up afloat at Roysth Dockyard for almost 40 years – double the length of time it spent on active duty)
  • Ask why the training of Royal Navy recruits at Faslane nuclear base could be delivered by American multinationals who are bidding for a lucrative Ministry of Defence contract to extend the capabilities at Faslane.

Write to your MSP:

  • Ask them to keep these issues to the forefront of debate in Scottish Parliament
  • Remind them that in May 2007 Scottish Government was selected on a manifesto to oppose nuclear weapons and the replacement of Trident
  • Remind them that in June 2007 the Scottish Parliament voted conclusively against the renewal of Trident

Write to your local Councillors:

  • Ask why the Council has not risk assessed the nuclear convoys
  • Ask why the Council has not produced a plan to deal with any potential accident
  • Ask why the Council have not made any information available to the public.

Contact details for your MP, MSP and councillor can be found HERE or you can do so online via Write To Them

If you are unsure of what to write there is a letter template available HERE which you can edit to suit if you wish.

convoy 9 July 2016 M74 Abington
M74 Abington 9th July 2016

Further reading –

Scotland woefully ill-prepared for a nuclear convoy disaster, argues Scottish GreensCLICK HERE

Mark Ruskell Scots Greens MSP “There’s too much secrecy about nuclear weapons convoys” CLICK HERE

Report on nuclear bomb exercise in 2011 that went badly wrongCLICK HERE

Nuclear Free Local Authorities – councils working for a renewable,safe and peaceful future CLICK HERE

Report for January 2019 ConvoyCLICK HERE

Unready Scotland – Nukewatch ReportCLICK HERE

Viewing –

Stirling convoy 

Mark Ruskell video

Links –