SNP MSP for the South of Scotland Dr Aileen McLeod has welcomed conformation that the Scottish Government is opposed to the testing of Depleted Uranium (DU) shells in Scotland and has written to the Ministry of Defence seeking confirmation that the testing does not infringe the international OSPAR convention on the protection of the marine environment. The Government also made a commitment that the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) will continue to liaise with the MoD on the environmental impacts of any future testing of DU munitions.
Dr McLeod commented:
“I am delighted that the Scottish Government has confirmed that it is opposed to the test firing of DU shells at Dundrennan or anywhere else in Scotland. And not only that, the Government intends to do everything within its power to remind Westminster and the MoD of their obligations under international conventions prohibiting the dumping of nuclear waste at sea.
“The blunt fact of the matter is that changing the name of an activity, as the MoD clearly intended to do, doesn’t change what actually happens.
“Whether we talk about DU shells being “dumped” or “placed” into the Solway is irrelevant. The bottom line is that more than 6,000 shells have ended up in the Solway and the overwhelming majority are out there still.
“Although I am pleased with the response I have received, I will be pursuing this issue further, both in the Scottish Parliament and with my SNP colleagues at Westminster, since DU campaigners have reason to believe that a further round of test firing may be required in the near future.
“Of course the answer I have received from the Scottish Government highlights all too clearly why we need the full powers of independence. Only with those powers, as a sovereign nation in our own right, can we stop this sort of weapons testing on Scottish soil.”
Notes to Editors:
Dr McLeod’s Parliamentary Question can be found below:
AileenMcLeod (South Scotland) (Scottish National Party): To ask the Scottish Government what action it is taking with regard to the environmental impact of the test firing of depleted uranium munitions by the MOD at the Dundrennan range on the Solway coast.
The Scottish Government is strongly opposed to the testing by the MoD of depleted uranium shells in Scotland.
The OSPAR Convention (the Convention for the protection of the marine environment of the North East Atlantic) of which the UK is a signatory, prohibits the dumping of low and intermediate level radioactive substances including waste within the marine environment. It is for UK Government and MoD to ensure that the requirements of the OSPAR Convention are being met. However, I am writing to the UK Government asking for confirmation that the testing of these shells is not in breach of the OSPAR Convention.
The Scottish Environment Protection Agency continues to liaise with the MoD on the environmental aspects of its activities on the Dundrennan range, including the environmental implications of any future testing of depleted uranium munitions.