- Luke’s campaign to recycle the 13 old Royal Navy nuclear submarines tied up in Devonport took a step forward today with the official publication of Luke’s private members bill that would require Ministers to develop a strategy for recycling retired nuclear submarines and a funding stream to pay for it.
- Not a single British nuclear submarine has been recycled or disposed since 1960.
The UK Parliament has today published Luke’s private members bill. The Submarine Recycling (Reporting) Bill would require Ministers to publish plans for recycling and introduce new regulations to extend the civil nuclear clean up programme to include these old submarines.
After making speeches in the House of Commons and during a debate in Westminster Hall, and numerous meetings with Defence Ministers Luke introduced his Private Members’ Bill for nuclear submarine recycling in April.
Many people will be surprised to learn that Britain still has every nuclear submarine it has ever had, all the way back to the HMS Dreadnought launched in 1960. There hasn’t been a plan in place to recycle or dispose of a single submarine yet despite the first being decommissioned some forty years ago. There are also no plans for the recycling of the three remaining Trafalgar-class submarines that are coming out of service in the next decade. Indeed, there are currently no plans even to provide space to store the four Vanguard-class nuclear bombers when they are replaced in the mid-2030s.
This growing problem is now costing the taxpayer £30 million a year and will likely worsen without a sustainable plan. Luke’s bill would address this longstanding gap on planning. Luke said:
“Plymouth cannot have an unlimited liability for looking after these old submarines. The oldest nuclear sub in Devonport has been tied up for as long as I’ve been alive and I simply will not accept that we will have indefinite responsibility for them while Government evades having a properly costed plan for them.
When elected I said I would be Plymouth’s voice in Parliament and not only have I raised this issue numerous times in debates I’ve also raised it twice with Theresa May at Prime Minister’s Questions. As part of my campaign I have started a truly cross-party effort with my Bill being backed by Labour, Conservative, SNP and Lib Dem Members. It is time for politicians and Ministers to come together to deal with our nuclear legacy and create jobs in the process.”
Extending civil nuclear decommissioning to these submarines will not only solve a longstanding problem, but will also create jobs in Plymouth, Scotland, and West Cumbria.
You can read the bill online here.