On the west coast of Scotland are the British Royal Navy submarines armed with Trident nuclear warheads.
However, according to reports, “senior officials” have told the Financial Times that if Scotland votes “yes” to independence in a second referendum, it could be relocated to naval bases in the US or France.
The Scottish government firmly opposes the possession, threats and use of nuclear weapons, saying it is “committed to the safe and complete withdrawal of Trident from Scotland”.
However, a Defense Department spokesman has denied there are any plans to move the submarines.
According to the Financial Times, the preferred option would be to move the nuclear deterrent to the Royal Navy base in Devonport, Plymouth.
Allied naval bases in the US and France are also reportedly being considered for the fleet.
Another option to be considered is to negotiate a new British overseas territory within Scotland, known as ‘nuclear Gibraltar’, with the UK government leasing Faslane and nearby Coulport from the independent Scottish government.
The Royal Naval Armaments Depot in Coulport is responsible for the storage, processing, maintenance and dispensing of key elements of the British Trident nuclear missile system.
A spokesman for the Mod said, “There are no plans to move nuclear deterrence from HM Naval Base Clyde (Faslane), which contributes to the safety and economy of Scotland and the UK, and its supporting facilities are safe for local communities.”
However, a spokeswoman for the Scottish Government said: “The Scottish Government strongly opposes the possession, threats and use of nuclear weapons and we are committed to the safe and complete withdrawal of Trident from Scotland.”
Nicola Sturgeon’s Scottish SNP government was re-elected in May, with the First Minister promising a second referendum on independence.
The SNP reached an agreement with the Scottish Greens in August on a power-sharing agreement that will bring the Greens to government for the first time in Great Britain.
As a result of the deal, Ms. Sturgeon has insisted that she has an “undeniable” mandate for indyref2 as the two parties together hold 72 of the 129 seats in the Scottish Parliament.
The SNP has long been opposed to the UK’s nuclear deterrent and has previously called for Trident missiles not to be renewed.
You can find more stories from where you live at Near you.