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DOZENS of safety failures during nuclear weapons convoys are a “disaster waiting to happen,” campaigners charged as they demanded the Ministry of Defence (MoD) answer for the risks it is exposing the public to.
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) and political campaigners have hit out at the MoD after concerning reports show 40 lapses in safety while nuclear and radioactive materials were being transported across the country over the past five years.
A Freedom of Information request has revealed the 40 operational and engineering issues on convoys carrying bombs and hazardous materials.
These incidents included issues identified with brakes on convoy vehicles, included burning smells during transportation.
On other occasions convoy vehicles were forced to stop, and road lanes closed, after suffering flat tyres.
Among other engineering faults listed were warnings of overheating in convoy vehicles.
Multiple “operational” issues also disrupted transportation of dangerous materials.
Reported in these were rolling road blocks needed to manoeuvre the convoy through busy, congested routes across the UK, causing delays in the journey.
CND general secretary Kate Hudson said: “Nuclear bombs carried on our roads are a disaster waiting to happen.
“This report shows that ‘poor maintenance’ is a factor in these safety lapses.
“The MoD must be brought to book for this disgraceful failure — and our new government must end this cargo of death through our communities.”
Britain's nuclear weapons are still based in Scotland and those north of the border have said it is time to rid ourselves of the apocalyptic threats.
Scottish Green MSP Mark Ruskell led a debate on the topic last year.
He said: “Like many I’d like to see an end to the housing of nuclear weapons in Scotland, but while they are still here it’s not unreasonable to expect the highest standards of safety to apply to their movement.
“People will be shocked at the thought of nuclear convoys travelling on public roads.
"In Stirling the convoys even park up overnight behind a chain-link fence across the road from a Nando’s and a Vue Cinema. This is an absurd situation that must come to an end.”
The SNP, which uncovered the issues, has warned that MoD complacency while transporting nuclear bombs could be catastrophic.
SNP MSP Bill Kidd, whose Glasgow constituency is just 25 miles from the nuclear base at Faslane, said: “It is bad enough that Scotland is forced to house these weapons of mass destruction.
"But these safety incidents are deeply worrying — there must be absolutely no complacency when it comes to handling nuclear weapons.
“The MoD has a history of secrecy, complacency and reluctance to report its faults — safety lapses such as these simply cannot be swept under the rug.
“It remains the case that the only way to fully guarantee public safety is to remove these immoral, strategically useless weapons once and for all.”
Despite the criticisms, the ministry maintains that the public was not put at risk as a result of any of the reported issues since 2014.
An MoD spokesperson added: “Public safety is our absolute priority and robust arrangements are in place to ensure the safety and security of all convoys.
“The incidents reported include minor issues such as replacing a windscreen wiper blade on a single vehicle in a 20 vehicle convoy.
“This demonstrates that, regardless of how minor the occurrence, every incident is recorded.
“None of these reported occurrences posed any risk to the public.”
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