THE news that lorries carrying weapons of mass destruction are regularly travelling through Scots towns and cities in the middle of the day and possibly in hazardous and freezing driving conditions is deeply disturbing.

Road traffic accidents are sadly not uncommon, especially in poor weather, and the consequences of one of the vehicles with explosives on board being involved in one could easily be catastrophic.

As John Ainslie from Scottish CND says, a crash – whether accidental or caused by a terror attack – could trigger a blast, killing or harming anybody nearby and dispersing the deadly, cancer-causing radioactive substance plutonium on board into the atmosphere for years to come.

Quite clearly it’s obvious what the best response to this threat is: as the SNP MSP Bruce Crawford acknowledges when he calls for the Defence Secretary Michael Fallon to stop the convoys, the most effective solution is not to have these weapons in Scotland.

But, sadly, with that state of affairs unlikely to happen in the near future, we are forced to look at other possibilities to minimise the risks.

Is there a route they can take that can avoid built-up areas?

Could the weapons be shipped to Coulport instead? Could they be collected by the submarines at a naval base closer to the Berkshire bomb factory, say in Plymouth, reducing the time the convoys are on public roads? If not, can such a new facility be built there?

Yesterday, The National got no clear answer from the Ministry of Defence as to whether these scenarios have or could be considered; we were simply told an assessment had been carried out that found the material was “best” moved in the current way.

We hope Crawford gets a detailed response addressing the possible alternatives from Michael Fallon which will reassure the public in Scotland. But we very much doubt it.

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