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  • Luke Pollard MP proposes legislation to force the Government to produce a plan to recycle old nuclear submarines
  • Luke’s Submarine Recycling Bill presented to Parliament the same day as House of Commons Public Accounts Committee publishes scathing report on the issue
  • A total of twenty submarines are tied up in Devonport and Rosyth, with storage space running out and costs reaching £30m a year

Today Labour MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport, Luke Pollard, will present a private members bill to Parliament, which requires the Government to produce a strategy on dismantling and defueling retired nuclear submarines in the UK.

The UK still has every single nuclear submarine we have ever had. There are 13 in the constituency Luke represents and one has been there longer than he’s been alive.

The presentation of the Bill coincides with the release of a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report which warned that further delays would mean the Ministry of Defence is ‘approaching crisis point’ in terms of storage space and costs.

Luke Pollard MP said:

“When I was elected I promised I would make dealing with these old nuclear submarines tied up in Devonport a key campaign priority. I’ve raised this issue twice with the Prime Minister at PMQs, held numerous meetings with Defence Ministers and put together a cross-party campaign demanding action. Today, I am presenting a private members bill to Parliament that would require Ministers to start the process of recycling the old nuclear submarines in Devonport and Rosyth.


“The PAC report confirms what I have been saying in Parliament since I was elected – that we urgently need a long-term, properly funded submarine recycling programme. Many people don’t know that every submarine we have every had is still in storage. This problem been ignored by governments of all colours for over 50 years, and is now costing the taxpayer £30 million a year.


“Recycling the submarines safely, sustainably and securely should be a matter of national urgency. Communities like Devonport in Plymouth cannot be asked to look after these subs forever. There are 13 old nuclear submarines tied up in Devonport right now and little room for the ones that will come out of service soon. Time, money and space are running out.


“We know the Defence budget is already under a lot of pressure. That’s why the cross-party campaign I launched last year proposes extending the remit of the funded programme cleaning up civil nuclear power station sites to include nuclear submarines. Ministers cannot continue to kick the can down the road. These subs won’t go away on their own.


“My Bill to start the recycling process in earnest has been backed by Labour, Conservative, SNP and Lib Dem Members. It is time for this generation of politicians and Ministers to come together to deal with our nuclear legacy and create jobs in the process.”


  • As of 2019, some of the submarines have been in storage for longer than they were in active service.
  • 9 of the 20 submarines retired since 1980 still contain irradiated fuel.
  • Since 1980 £500m has been spent on storage and maintenance of these 20 submarines.
  • The 15-year delay to the recycle these submarines has led to extortionate storage and maintenance costs which are now costing the taxpayer £30 million per year.
  • Luke Pollard has twice called on the Prime Minister for a commitment to submarine defueling and dismantling
  • Luke’s father served on HMS Swiftsure and HMS Conqueror, two submarines, awaiting recycling.
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