A campaign group which monitors the transport of nuclear weapons has expressed concern for public safety after a vehicle in a convoy broke down yesterday, Monday, morning.
The convoy included four warhead carriers and had to stop on the hard shoulder of the M40 near junction nine at around 11am after one of the escort vehicles broke down.
The M40 slip roads were closed and traffic on the northbound carriageway had to stop.
A tow truck, which travels with the convoy turned around and backed up to the escort vehicle. The convoy moved off again at 11.40am followed later by the tow truck towing the escort vehicle.
The convoy was being monitored by Nukewatch, which said the convoy left the warhead assembly plant at Burghfield and was likely to be heading for Coulport on Loch Long where the warheads are stored and loaded onto the Trident submarines.
A Nukewatch spokesperson said: “The breakdown happened to an escort vehicle rather than one of the warhead carrying trucks but clearly any vehicle can have problems.
“After all there have been 180 incidents involving the convoys in the period 2000 to 2016. The UK’s Ministry of Defence is allowed to carry explosive and radioactive materials in the same transport – a procedure rationally outlawed for civil transport.
“It is probably only a matter of time before we have a serious accident involving these convoys. The transport of these weapons shows a disturbing disregard for public safety, which is put in second place by the government’s determination to continue to deploy these horrific weapons of mass destruction.”
According to the MoD the high explosive has an impact range of 600 metres and the radiological plume would extend to at least 5 kilometres.