Coronavirus: Weapons transport condemned as call is made for recovery to include nuclear disarmament

Coronavirus: Weapons transport condemned as call is made for recovery to include nuclear disarmament. 

“Unaffordable” nuclear weapons are “useless and irrelevant” against the two major global crises the world is facing and therefore the “new normal” needs to be nuclear-weapon-free, an SNP MSP has said. 

Ruth Maguire – The Convener of Holyrood’s Equality and Human Rights Committee- believes that “now is the time to really join the dots between the fact that Nuclear weapons are immoral and ineffective with the fact that they are an unaffordable economic burden in a post Coronavirus world”, as she highlighted that the UK’s £205bn trident replacement costs had no part to play in the two major issues facing the world – the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change.

The SNP MSP’s call came as after she met, alongside experienced Nuclear Disarmament campaigner  Bill Kidd MSP, with Community Safety Minister Ash Denham to raise concerns over the continued transportation of nuclear warheads on Scottish roads, an activity that has continued during the pandemic.

Convoys carrying the weapons are understood leave the Atomic Weapons Establishment site at Burghfield, Berkshire, and travel via many Scottish towns, villages, and cities before arriving at the storage facility at the Royal Naval Armaments Depot Coulport in Argyll and Bute.

Nukewatch UK claim the convoys have involved at least 50 personnel, including a crew change, and say they travel along the M6 and on the M8 through Glasgow city centre. As many as 22 nuclear warheads were transported from England to Scotland in eight road convoys during 2020 despite coronavirus restrictions, according to the campaign group. 

The most recent bomb convoy arrived at the Royal Naval Armament Depot at Coulport in Argyll and Bute on 15 January and set off south to the Nuclear Weapons Factory at Burghfield in Berkshire on 20 January during a ban on non-essential travel.

Commenting Ms Maguire, who is the SNP MSP for Cunninghame South in the West of Scotland said: 

 “The transportation of weapons of mass destruction should never be deemed as essential travel but there is certainly at the moment no justification for putting us at further risk of potentially overwhelming the NHS if there was an accident.”

She added: “It is never right to possess and deploy nuclear weapons and transport them on public roads. Doing it now is completely irresponsible.

“I was a pleased to meet today with the Community Safety Minister Ash Denham to express these concerns. People in Scotland should no longer accept that they are regularly put at risk by the transportation of nuclear weapons via their roads. 

The SNP MSP has also highlighted the cost of Nuclear Weapons, stating that as we recover from Coronavirus now is the right time to rid Scotland of Nuclear weapons. 

She added: 

 “The UK’s nuclear weapons are proving to be even more expensive than expected. This expenditure cannot be justified at a time when public money is under unprecedented pressure”.

“The world faces two crises at the moment: the unprecedented impact Coronavirus is having on our way of life; and the point of no return if we do not tackle climate change. The £205bn the UK plans to spend on the replacement of trident nuclear weapons does nothing to address either.” 

“As we take steps to build back from Covid-19 that recovery must include creating a world without nuclear weapons. It is be both immoral and economically illiterate to spend hundreds of billions of pounds on weapons of mass destruction – that we will never use – when we can instead invest that money on an economic recovery that actually benefits the lives of the people we represent. “ 

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