Trident could be forced overseas or halted if Scotland gains independence
Continuing UK’s nuclear deterrent would probably require help of an allied country, defence expert says
Trident could be forced to the US or possibly France if Scotland became independent because there is no alternative port immediately available elsewhere in the UK, according to a retired admiral responsible for Britain’s nuclear policy.
Unless Scotland were to agree to lease back the Faslane submarine base to the rest of the UK, continuing Trident would probably require the help of an allied country or the nuclear deterrent would have to be halted completely, the expert said.
The conclusions are contained in a European Leadership Network paper written by John Gower, a rear admiral at the time of the 2014 independence referendum, as Scotland prepares for the Holyrood elections, where the anti-nuclear SNP could win an overall majority.
“A Scottish secession would therefore generate fundamental operational and fiscal issues for the UK’s nuclear deterrent,” Gower wrote, because Faslane base, the warhead loading site at Coulport, and nearby testing ranges are all based in Scotland or Scottish waters.