Mounting concerns about UK-US Nuclear waste deal - the Leader of Highland Council reacts

Reacting to the breaking news this morning regarding a deal between the UK and US for the transportation of nuclear material from Dounreay to the USA, the Leader of the Highland Council, Cllr Margaret Davidson said: “I am frankly astonished that this news has come out of the blue at a time that the UK Government is well aware of our concerns regarding the threatened removal of the Emergency Towing Vessels in the North and West.  This new development certainly raises the risk of a potentially catastrophic incident to unacceptable levels - particularly in the context of the loss of ETV capability in our coastal waters.  The Pentland Firth is notorious for the challenges it poses in terms of weather, tides and navigation  and there needs to be adequate protection in place to respond in the case of an incident whilst the waste is being transported.”

The Highland Council’s Chairman of the Community Services Committee, Cllr Allan Henderson said:  “The Marine and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has already undertaken a risk assessment that has concluded that even without this new development, there is insufficient mitigation in place without the ETVs to manage the risks to life and the environment in the event of a major shipping incident.  I think this is a game changer in terms of the decision by UK Government Ministers to remove this vital service.  The UK Government must put peoples’ lives above budgetary considerations.”

The Vice Chair of the Community Services Committee and Council representative on KIMO, Cllr Richard Greene said: “ If the UK Government has struck a deal with the US then there will be a financial gain involved.  I think it’s only right that some of this is used to finance the re-instatement of the ETVs.  Government-funded ETVs are used throughout Europe and will ensure that safety is paramount when it comes to the shipment of Uranium back to Europe.  The people of Scotland deserve at least the same level of protection.”

31 Mar 2016