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UK might have to move its nuclear submarines overseas, if Scotland gains independence.

MoD could move UK nuclear subs abroad if Scotland breaks away Contingency plans for Trident look at US and French bases if no long-term lease possible on navy facilities like Faslane  Sebastian Payne and Helen Warrell in London, and Mure Dickie in Edinburgh. 1 Sept 21,

The UK has drawn up secret contingency plans to move its Trident nuclear submarine bases from Scotland to the US or France in the event of Scottish independence. Another option under consideration is for the UK to seek a long-term lease for the Royal Navy’s nuclear bases at their current location in Faslane and Coulport on the west coast of Scotland. This would create a British territory within the borders of a newly separate Scotland, said people briefed on the plans. 
 The UK government is fiercely opposed to Scottish independence but the prospect of a potential break-up of the Union is worrying Whitehall. The governing Scottish National party returned to power in May and has pledged to ban all nuclear weapons in an independent Scotland.  

Several senior officials told the Financial Times that the contingency plans for moving the submarines underscored the difficult choices ministers will have to make for Britain’s nuclear programme after a potential Scottish breakaway. The exercise was undertaken recently, said people briefed on the plans, although one senior government official disputed the timing. The exercise concluded that the Trident programme would have three options after the formation of an anti-nuclear independent Scottish state. The first would be to relocate the bases elsewhere on the British Isles, with the Royal Navy’s Devonport base cited as the most likely location to replace Faslane.  

  An analysis by the Royal United Services Institute think-tank written just ahead of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum estimated the relocation costs of such a move at £3bn to £4bn.    

The second option would be to move the UK’s nuclear bases to an allied country such as the US, with one defence expert citing Kings Bay, Georgia, the base for the US Navy’s Atlantic fleet of Trident submarines. Officials also examined moving the UK’s submarine base to Île Longue in Brittany, France. Moving the bases to the US is the preferred option of the UK Treasury, as it would require minimal capital investment, according to officials. But basing Trident outside Britain could be politically difficult, as it would likely be viewed as a threat to defence sovereignty. 
 The third option is to negotiate a new British Overseas Territory within an independent Scottish state that would contain the Faslane and Coulport bases, dubbed by one insider as a “Nuclear Gibraltar”.  

Following negotiations on Scotland exiting the UK, Whitehall would hope to lease the land for “several decades”, according to officials……..

  The MoD declined to comment on contingency plans for a Scottish breakaway. Asked about the UK contingency plans,
 the Scottish government said it firmly opposed the possession, threat and use of nuclear weapons and was “committed to the safe and complete withdrawal of Trident from Scotland”.  ……………….

September 2, 2021 - Posted by | UK, weapons and war

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