Page last updated at 07:17 GMT, Thursday, 5 November 2009

Sub adviser quits over colleague

A Trident submarine
The government has pledged to renew the Trident nuclear deterrent

A government adviser has resigned in protest at the sacking of a colleague from the panel deciding how to dispose of decommissioned nuclear submarines.

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

"The various bodies of the Ministry of Defence have been acting in a thoroughly dishonourable way," he said.

The MoD said there had been two people with the same expertise on the panel.

The UK currently has a fleet of 27 nuclear submarines.

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

Dr Hunt, a specialist in environmental sociology at Lancaster University, was sacked from the advisory group of the Submarine Dismantling Project. She has now also resigned from its steering group.

'Uncomfortable advice'

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

In a resignation letter to the group, Dr Hunt wrote: "It seems my own advice is uncomfortable for the MoD and therefore ignored and seen as trouble making rather than what it is: a genuine attempt to improve the governance of the project through fair and honest consultation and open and transparent decision-making.

"Given that the MoD is reneging on previous commitments taken in response to consultation, is failing to properly elicit and consider expert advice, and is adopting a 'decide, announce, defend' approach, I do not feel I can continue as a member of the steering group, as my membership implicitly condones the actions for the MoD."

An MoD spokesperson said a review of the group's membership had shown duplication in the area of communications and community consultation.

"As an MoD-funded body, it would be inappropriate to use taxpayers' money to fund members whose expertise is duplicated elsewhere," he said.

"The purpose of the advisory group is to give the MoD the opportunity to listen to the views of people with a range of different perspectives including those who are critical of the MoD's approach.

"It can be clearly seen that the membership of the Sdpag includes these different perspectives, and we have no intention of changing that."

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