Gareloch (Discharge of Radioactive Waste)

– in the Scottish Parliament on 11th March 2020.

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Photo of Ross Greer Ross Greer Green

6. To ask the Scottish Government, in light of its response to the Scottish Environment Protection Agency’s consultation on the matter, for what reason it did not object to the application by the Ministry of Defence to discharge more radioactive waste into the Gareloch. (S5O-04241)

Photo of Roseanna Cunningham Roseanna Cunningham Scottish National Party

The member will be aware that matters of defence are reserved to the United Kingdom Government. The Scottish Government is firmly opposed to the possession, threat and use of nuclear weapons. They are morally, strategically and economically wrong, as well as being indiscriminate and devastating in their impacts.

For as long as the UK Government continues to base its weapons in Scotland, our primary concern is the safety of the people of Scotland. The responsibility for regulatory matters at specific sites lies with the independent regulator SEPA, which I understand is now publicly consulting on the MOD’s application.

Photo of Ross Greer Ross Greer Green

I welcome the cabinet secretary’s comments about moral outrage at the very existence of the weapons, but the reality is that the Scottish Government is a statutory consultee in a process in which the Ministry of Defence proposes the discharge of up to 52 times more radioactive cobalt-60 and up to 30 times more radioactive tritium directly into the Gareloch. The Scottish Government, as a statutory consultee, did not object. I am simply asking why.

Photo of Roseanna Cunningham Roseanna Cunningham Scottish National Party

The consultation is open now and until 13 March. I encourage everybody who is interested in the matter to make a submission to the consultation.

Following a vote for independence, we would obviously make an early agreement to remove all of that from Scotland. I appreciate that Ross Greer would agree with that, but others who are concerned about the issue might ponder the future and the reasons why they will not follow our view that independence would be the best option with regard to it.