CONCERNS over the transportation of nuclear weapons have been raised following reports that a nuclear convoy passed through Glasgow last month without the knowledge of the local authority.

The watchdog group NukeWatch, which monitors and tracks the movement of UK nuclear weapons, sighted the convoy of unmarked, lead-lined lorries on 26 June, noting on Twitter that each truck was “probably carrying two warheads”. The convoy is believed to travel between the Atomic Weapons Establishment Burghfield near Reading and RNAD Coulport on Loch Long, going through Glasgow on the M74 and M8 and passing within 1.5 miles of George Square.

Speaking to the news website Glasgow Live, Scottish CND’s David Mackenzie commented: “"None of the local authorities are informed [about the convoys]. The fire and rescue are not informed, health services are not informed.

"The only organisation that is informed is Police Scotland. I presume this is because of the general secrecy around the whole business.”

Mackenzie added: “If you live in the area around Faslane, Coulport or Torness then there are duties imposed by law about informing the public about the risk of radiological exposure. There's something called the Clyde Emergency Plan covering Faslane and Coulport where they actually send out leaflets about what to do and where to shelter and all that stuff, so it's all there in the public domain.

"And our question is: what is the difference between the same stuff on the road, moving? Now that's a matter for legislation, but at least I would think councils and the civil authorities in Scotland should have a view on that."

An Ministry of Defence spokesperson told the National: “A wide range of safety and security measures are in place to ensure safe movement of Defence Nuclear Material throughout the UK.

“We provide notice to local police forces, however, for security reasons we do not share details of individual movements more widely.”

A spokesperson for Glasgow City Council confirmed this to the National, saying: “The responsibility for the safe transportation of these materials is a reserved matter that sits with the Ministry of Defence.

“My understanding is that councils are not informed of convoys being routed through their area but that the MoD engages with other relevant agencies to inform any plans.”

Speaking on behalf of Glasgow Council’s Scottish Green group, Cllr Martha Wardrop told the National: “In the event of an incident it would be civil authorities like the police and local councils who would be expected to attend, and there are significant concerns around the readiness and capacity of councils to do so, particularly if they are not informed of the convoys’ movements in the first place.

“Like many I’d like to see an end to the housing of nuclear weapons in Scotland, but while they are still here it’s not unreasonable to expect that the highest standards of safety to apply to their movement.”

In 2019, a Scottish Government review exposed a number of shortfalls in Scotland’s emergency arrangements for coping with a potential nuclear convoy crash, revealing that the fire service had not yet finalised its procedures for such events, police required greater briefing and vetting, and that the Scottish Ambulance Service is not informed of nuclear convoy routes, despite requesting that it be so.

In 2021, the SNP criticised the MoD’s policy of secrecy as “absolutely untenable”, after an information tribunal rejected a bid to release reports on Trident nuclear bomb and submarine hazards on the Clyde due to concern over leaks to Russia. Speaking at the time, Scottish CND chair Lynn Jamieson said: “This decision is a disservice to the Scottish public who have no voice in their proximity to the UK nuclear weapons system.”