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24/06/14 17:34

Lochhead re-emphasises need for MOD transparency on nuclear issues

Environment Secretary meets with Defence Minister.

Scotland’s Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead has today urged the MoD to ensure openness and transparency in relation to radioactive incidents and radioactive contamination on their sites in Scotland.

Mr Lochhead met UK Defence Minister Philip Dunne MP and Baroness Verma to discuss issues regarding radioactive incidents and contamination, specifically the 2012 radioactive incident at the MoD’s Nuclear Reactor Test facility at Vulcan in Dounreay, which became public in March this year; the issue of radioactive contamination in Dalgety Bay; and the dismantling of the MoD’s nuclear submarines located at Rosyth dockyard.

Commenting after the meeting Mr Lochhead said:

"This was a constructive meeting and an opportunity for me to emphasise to the MoD the concerns of the Scottish Government about the MoD’s lack of transparency and openness in relation to the Vulcan incident, and the impact of that on public trust.

“It is vital that there is a culture of openness and transparency when dealing with issues of legitimate public concern, and this incident – where the local stakeholder group were not only not informed about the incident but were told everything was continuing as normal when it was not, is an example of how not to do things.

“We agreed that Scottish and UK Government officials will review the reporting regime around such incidents, and I welcome that. From a Scottish Government perspective we wish to remove the current Crown exemption for MoD sites from SEPA’s environmental regulation regime. This would mean MoD establishments were subject to the same regulation as civil nuclear sites in Scotland.

“We also discussed the long running situation regarding radioactive contamination at Dalgety Bay and I welcome the Minister’s comments that the MoD feel that finally they are not far from a solution on this issue.

"In relation to the dismantling of the nuclear submarines stored at Rosyth dockyard I welcomed that the MoD are putting plans in place to allow the removal of the Low Level Waste from the submarines and I welcome the proposal to remove the waste from Scotland.”