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Monday, 20 October 2014

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Doubts raised over nuclear subs move - Cumbria experts have say

CUMBRIA is unlikely to benefit if Scottish independence results in Britain’s submarines being moved from Faslane, experts have said.

A key issue in the debate over Scottish independence is the 8,000 jobs at Faslane where the UK’s nuclear deterrent is stored.

If Scotland gains independence, the submarines would need to be moved to England as the Scottish National Party would make nuclear weapons illegal.

The issue has raised the question of where the submarines could be housed.

Dave Barlow, chairman of the Barrow branch of the Submariners’ Association, said the tidal system and available space at the docks meant Barrow could not be home to the nuclear deterrent.

He said: “You would need to have a system whereby the subs could come and go as they please.

“Faslane is in a loch so tides aren’t an issue, but in Barrow we are restricted by the tides. Even when we build a sub and she goes out on sea trials, the departure is planned with military precision because you need to have a high tide.”

Mr Barlow, who served in the Royal Navy for 16 years onboard submarines including Valiant and Sovereign, also pointed out that the nuclear licence in place at Barrow would not allow a submarine with a working nuclear reactor to return once it had left.

He added: “Even if this was to happen and a new home was needed, it’s not something that’s going to happen overnight.”

Some have suggested that the naval base at Devonport in Plymouth could be an alternative to Faslane.

However, the base is highly unlikely to pass safety clearance to house armed submarines.

There are around 166,000 people living within five kilometres of Devonport, compared with 5,200 within that distance of Faslane.

Any site in England would also need a major upgrade.

Chris Clouter, operations manager at Associated British Ports in Barrow, said: “In Barrow you wouldn’t be able to house the submarines here without some additional infrastructure and that would involve substantial investment.”

Have your say

Firstly, there are 520 jobs directly reliant on Trident, not the 8k stated. Secondly, it is the Scottish NATIONAL Party, not Nationalist.
Please do some proper journalistic research before parroting political press releases.
Oh, and I'm English, living in Scotland, voting Yes to the normality of running your own country.

Posted by Suzanne Kimm on 28 August 2014 at 10:41

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