THE UK has drafted contingency plans to move the Trident nuclear submarine base from Scotland to the United States or France if Scotland becomes independent, according to a new report.

The "secret" proposals were revealed by the Financial Times and highlight fears in Whitehall that Scotland is set to leave the Union behind.

The plans being considered by Boris Johnson’s UK Government aim to find alternatives to the nuclear base in Faslane and Coulport.

READ MORE: Pope Francis called on to visit Faslane during COP26

HMNB Clyde hosts the UK’s vastly expensive nuclear deterrent – but both the SNP and Scottish Greens, who recently signed a co-operation agreement giving them a majority in Holyrood, are opposed to Trident’s renewal.

The National:

One option being considered by the UK is a long-term lease of the base, which would mean an independent British territory within an independent Scotland.

The Financial Times cited “senior officials” at Whitehall saying the contingency planning took place recently, with another disputing the timing.

Another possibility being considered by the UK Government was to relocate to the Royal Navy’s base in Devonport but this could cost around £3 billion to £4bn.

There are also fears that the continental shelf would mean the submarines having to dive slower and being more vulnerable to tracking.

The area is a busy shipping lane, which could spark safety fears.

The BBC’s new Martin Compston and Suranne Jones drama Vigil’s first episode brought attention back to the Antares tragedy, which resulted in four deaths after a trawler’s nets got caught up in a nuclear submarine in the Forth of Clyde.

The National: All Under One Banner (AUOB) anti-nuclear weapons rally at the Faslane Royal Navy base, today, Saturday...  Photograph by Colin Mearns.28 August 2021..

A third proposal would see Trident moved to an allied country, such as Kings Bay in the state of Georgia in the United States or Ile Longue in Brittany, France – both host to those countries’ submarines.

Treasury officials are said to prefer the option of moving the nuclear submarine fleet to the US due to the lower cost.

The Ministry of Defence said there were “no plans” to move Trident.

A spokesperson told the FT: “The UK is strongly committed to maintaining its credible and independent nuclear deterrent at HM Naval Base Clyde, which exists to deter the most extreme threats to the UK and our Nato allies.”

The MoD later added: "Contrary to a recent press report, the nuclear deterrent and the thousands of jobs which support it are staying in Scotland."