Page last updated at 20:29 GMT, Friday, 6 November 2009

Fears over sub scrapyard decision

A Trident submarine
Eight disused submarines are already being stored at Devonport

An anti-nuclear campaigner has raised concerns officials have already decided Plymouth should be a scrapyard for decommissioned nuclear submarines.

Ian Avent, who sits on the Submarine Dismantling Project (SDP) consultation advisory group, said he feared it was a "done deal" for Devonport Dockyard.

His concerns come after the SDP panel, which is to recommend how to dispose of submarines, lost two members.

The government said that no decision had been taken yet.

The UK currently has a fleet of 27 nuclear submarines.

Eight disused vessels are being stored at Devonport, ahead of being dismantled, while seven are at Rosyth, in Fife.

I'm frightened that the consultation might be just window dressing
Ian Avent

The SDP panel has to decide how to deal with the radioactive and non-radioactive hazardous wastes from the submarines in the short and long-term.

However, earlier this week, government adviser Peter Lanyon resigned from it in protest at the sacking of his colleague, Dr Jane Hunt.

Mr Lanyon said his position was no longer tenable as his views and those of his dismissed colleague were not being considered.

Mr Avent, who is on the SDP panel and is a member of the local pressure group CANSAR (the Campaign Against Nuclear Storage And Radiation), said he was concerned Dr Hunt was sacked because the government was given advice it did not want to hear.

He said: "I'm frightened that it's a done deal. I'm frightened that the consultation might be just window dressing.

"If that's the case, what are we left with? We're left with our councillors and our MPs to defend us."

The government said that it did listen to scientists' advice.

Ed Miliband, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, who was at the Met Office in Exeter on Friday, said: "We do listen to scientists, including on that issue.

"In the end, government has to make its decisions on the basis of the best scientific evidence available to it.

"We should be by guided by the science and that is the approach that we'll take."

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