January 2015; Trident – Secret plan for nuclear submarines
Defence officials have secretly been conducting well advanced, closed-door contingency planning exercises examining proposals to move, from their base at Faslane in Scotland to Wales, Britain’s four Vanguard Trident ballistic nuclear missile armed submarines.
Coulport on Loch Long, eight miles from Faslane, where the warheads are stored (The sites are kept separate for safety reasons) will be converted to munitions storage in support of the conventional fleet.
Eliminating any need to build storage facilities at Milford Haven plans are to retain Trident warheads, not allocated to submarine use, at Aldermaston, in Berkshire. This best case scenario has the advantage of having a direct route, (using the M4) between locations. The change will achieve significant financial savings through the elimination of duplication of security of storage and associated personnel costs.
It is expected savings will be allocated to the build of docking facilities for the submarines, (which is not expected to be significant). The change will be completed within the lifetime of the next parliament. Faslane is to be retained as an operational naval base providing facilities for other submarines of the fleet and an increased basing of surface NATO warships providing security of the northern part of the NATO alliance.
It is understood relocation of Trident has been agreed with Labour, assuming the SNP are returned to Westminster in large numbers and hold the balance of power. The deal will be implemented in the event of a hung parliament in the 2015 general election and the SNP commit to the support of a Labour government. The SNP yesterday welcomed a YouGov poll showing that, when ‘don’t knows’ are removed, 53 per cent of people in Scotland agree that the UK should give up nuclear weapons.
Labour’s First Minister in Wales, Carwyn Jones, is said have indicated he would be happy to see Trident submarines relocated to Wales, a natural deep water port and work has now begun on the practicalities of shifting Britain’s nuclear defence systems to Pembrokeshire.
Additional financial powers covering a number of areas, similar to proposals for Scotland, are expected to be to be devolved to Wales forming part of the deal.
A Labour spokesman said: ‘Our position on Trident is clear and unchanged. Labour believes Britain should be leading international efforts for multilateral nuclear disarmament while maintaining a minimum, credible independent nuclear deterrent.’ which is a different different position to that of the Tories. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2929226/Trident-quit-Scotland-Wales-Secret-plan-nuclear-subs-triggered-rise-SNP.html