Oxford Mail: Campaigners criticise A34 nuclear convoys

by Giles Sheldrick

Peace campaigners at a rally in Oxford vowed to keep up the pressure on the Ministry of Defence to decommission Trident nuclear weapons.

On Saturday, campaigners in Broad Street collected 300 signatures for a national petition calling on the Government to scrap the weapons system and abandon plans for its replacement.
Nuclear Warhead Oxford 19th November 2005
Campaigners took photographs of a convoy carrying Trident warheads passing Botley on the A34 earlier this month.

Oxford city councillors last month resolved to write to the Ministry of Defence protesting about the convoys passing the outskirts of the city.

Another letter was sent to John Kelly, Oxfordshire County Council's emergency planning officer, asking him to demand to be told when these convoys pass through or near Oxford.

Convoys of nuclear weapons travel about six times a year between the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Burghfield, in Berkshire, and the Royal Naval Armaments Depot at Coulport, in Scotland, where the warheads are prepared for use in the submarine-launched Trident missile system.

The warheads contain plutonium and other radioactive materials.

Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) spokesman Gawain Little said: "These weapons are immoral, illegal and a waste of money. The British Government is committed, under the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, to nuclear disarmament and it's time for these commitments to be seen through."

Mr Little said more than 200 people had turned out for the protest.

He added: "The protest has been a real success and has kickstarted our campaign, which we will now build on. We have found that once people are given information they are incredibly supportive of our cause.

"We want to send a clear message from the people of Oxford to say stop transporting these weapons on our roads, stop building them on our doorsteps and let's get rid of Trident once and for all."

Among the speakers at the rally were Amanda Crawford, chairman of Oxford Youth and Student CND, and the Rev David Platt, co-chairman of Chrstian CND. Peace campaign and CND groups from Oxford, Abingdon and Kidlington also took part.


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