THE Scottish National Party has demanded a full public inquiry into Britain’s failure to safely dispose of any of its nuclear submarines.

Their calls came after an independent government watchdog exposed decades-long delays and massive cost over-runs and defuelling and dismantling the Royal Navy’s Cold war fleet, many of which were built in Barrow.

The National Audit Office also found that the Ministry of Defence had no plans on how it would scrap its current 10 nuclear-powered submarines, including its four Trident missile carriers.

Seven out-of-service submarines are currently stored at Rosyth in Scotland- including Polaris boat HMS Revenge - and another 13 near Plymouth.

Just storing them has already cost £500 million.

SNP Defence spokesperson Stewart McDonald said: “This is a scandal of epic proportions.

"Eye-watering sums of money are being wasted and it is time that those responsible – ministers and officials of the current and previous governments – are called to answer how this situation has been arrived at.

“A public inquiry would allow for the proper scrutiny that the public would expect.

"The wasting of hundreds of millions of pounds cannot simply be written off. It is vital the authors of this mess explain themselves.

“The public have a right to know what advice was being given, how sound was that advice and why was sound advice being ignored by ministers?

Barrow's Brendan Sweeney, chair of the Nuclear Legacy Advisory Forum (NuLeAF), said: “It is ridiculous these submarines have been lying around for so many years - people are right to be annoyed.

“We need to get nuclear materials removed from these submarines and any decommissioning process should not take place in Barrow. They should be cut up where they are now.”

An MoD spokesperson said: “The disposal of nuclear submarines is a complex and challenging undertaking. We remain committed to the safe, secure and cost-effective de-fuelling and dismantling as soon as practically possible.”