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CAUTIOUS WELCOME FOR SCOTGOV PROMISE TO REVIEW SCOTTISH READINESS TO RESPOND TO NUCLEAR WEAPON CONVOYS EMERGENCIES

NUCLEAR WEAPON CONVOYS: CAUTIOUS WELCOME FOR SCOTGOV PROMISE TO REVIEW SCOTTISH READINESS TO RESPOND TO EMERGENCIES

 

Scottish CND has today given a  cautious welcome to the promise given by the Scottish government  to the resilience work of Police Scotland and the SFRS in the light of concerns about the readiness of the civil authorities in Scotland to respond effectively to any serious incident involving the road convoys which transport nuclear warheads to and from Burghfield and Coulport.

 

The concerns about public safety were highlighted in the 2016 Nukewatch Report “Unready Scotland”(http://www.nukewatch.org.uk/?p=683), based on a survey of affected local councils by Mark Ruskell MSP which revealed a serious failure on their part to comply with their duties under the Civil Contingencies Act 2004

 

The promise came first from Minister for Community Affairs Annabelle Ewing at the close of a debate on the issue in the Scottish Parliament earlier this month and has been confirmed by Deputy First Minister John Swinney in his reply to SCND's recent letter, which  had asked that the government accede to the Nukewatch request for a review.

 

SCND Chair Arthur West said:

“ We are pleased that the Scottish Government has decided to conduct a review  - this is a significant step forward. Our caution is prompted by two considerations.

 

 

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. We of course understand that there are many features that will be common for any emergency response, such as evacuations, public communications, recovery hubs, shelter etc. but any review that does not look specifically at the nuclear weapon issue will not address our concerns.

 

We are also convinced that an effective review has to be transparent, at least in terms of the participants, the remit and the outcomes. Without that transparency the public cannot be assured that the issue is being addressed with any rigour. As Annabelle Ewing herself said during the recent debate “  . we all want to have that assurance. “

 

 

We share with the Scottish government an utter rejection of nuclear weapons and the belief that the new UN Treaty on The Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons has given fresh impetus for global nuclear disarmament. We believe that with an open and honest look at the convoy risks the government will be taking a modest but logical step towards acting on

that rejection.