Council to write to Minister for Defence about nuclear convoys in Midlothian

Nuclear convoy travelling along the Edinburgh City Bypass on route to Midlothian
Nuclear convoy travelling along the Edinburgh City Bypass on route to Midlothian

Midlothian Council is to write to the Minister for Defence to ask whether or not there are emergency plans in place for nuclear convoys travelling through the county.

This follows an SNP motion by councillors Dianne Alexander and Debbi McCall at last week’s full council meeting for the local authority to write to Gavin Williamson to ask what measures are in place to safeguard the people of Midlothian should the convoys carrying nuclear weapons, fuel and waste, through the area be involved in an emergency incident which would endanger local people.

Nuclear convoy travels along the Edinburgh City Bypass on route to Midlothian

Nuclear convoy travels along the Edinburgh City Bypass on route to Midlothian

Speaking at the meeting Penicuik councillor Joe Wallace (SNP), a member of Scottish CND, said that the convoys sometimes stop overnight at Glencorse Barracks.

He added: “They are dangerous, because a lot of them consist of high explosives packed around a lump of plutonium. This combination is not allowed in civilian cargo.

“The MOD admits a detonation is possible. And that people should be evacuated in a 600 metre radius. Which takes in three schools in the Penicuik area.

“The Ministry of Defence have also said that the consequences of such an incident are likely to be a considerable loss of life and severe disruption, both to people’s lives and the ability of the UK to function as a sovereign state.

“The civil contingencies act 2004 says that category one responders, which are local authorities, must conduct a risk assessment of potential threats and keep the public informed.”

Cllr Wallace asked officers if a risk assessment had been carried out. Director John Blair said he was “unsure” but promised to check.