It was made publicly known in late July that the Ministry of Defence had actually signed a contract with private sector contractor, ABL Alliance in respect of the Trident weapons system based in Argyll.
This contract was: ‘to provide support of the Trident Strategic Weapon System at the Royal Naval Armament Depot (RNAD) Coulport and the Strategic Weapon Support Building (SWSB) Faslane, both of which are part of Her Majesty’s (HM) Naval base Clyde’.
For Argyll published on the matter, in some concern – and at the same time asked Michael Russell, Argyll and Bute’s MSP, to establish for us the position being taken on the matter by the Scottish Government.
It is not known, for example, of they were consulted on the matter, although it would be highly contentious if they had not.
Without such consultation, the privatisation of the maintenance and storage on Scottish soil of nuclear weapons the majority of Scottish people do not support, would be a foolishly provocative stance.
My Russell has now sent us a copy of a letter he received on the matter from junior minister at Defence – Peter Luff MP (a name that is a wonderfully appropriate metaphor from the sailing world), Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology. (TridentStrategicWeaponSystem 002)
This confirms the signing of the contract – for a 15 year term and including ‘a nuclear indemnity’, an additional matter of concern on which we are now asking Mr Russell to acquire detail.
The Luff letter boasts of the ‘excellent safety record’ of HM Naval Base Clyde – which is not the case.
The Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) has, in respect of previous repeated failures of the nuclear waste facility at Faslane, said that it would close the place down if it had the power to do so.
Mr Russell, who is himself opposed to what he describes as ‘this ridiculous idea’, has now also asked Cabinet Secretary for Parliamentary Business and Government Strategy, Bruce Crawford MSP, to let him know ‘what position is being taken by the Scottish Government and what actions are being taken to oppose this development’.