THE people of Falmouth, and more specifically Flushing and Mylor, have more to fear than most if Scotland gains its independence in September, according to a new report from the Royal United Services Institute.
With Scotland declaring itself a nuclear free zone, warheads currently stored at Coulport could be moved to Falmouth to be stored in a specially built nuclear munitions facility built on the headland between Trefusis Point, Flushing and Penarrow Point, Mylor Churchtown.
The report, by Rusi research analyst Hugh Chalmers and research director Malcolm Chalmers, said relocating the Trident nuclear base to England would be both financially and technically feasible.
While the submarines would be based at Devonport, the missiles themselves could be stored at Falmouth. This would be to prevent the chance of a worst case scenario for a potential accident - namely the simultaneous ignition of a boat load of missiles.
“The most desirable location for a munitions facility would therefore be a location where the consequences of such an accident could be mitigated by isolating it from vulnerable populations, and segregating stored missiles, warheads and loading platforms at safe distances from each other,” says the report.
“The option given most credence to date involves developing munitions facility on the Fal Estuary to the north of Falmouth, which offers good shelter and a comparatively isolated location.”
It says the relocation would not be without its problems as Devonport and Falmouth are almost 50 nautical miles apart – over three times the distance between Faslane in Scotland where the submarines are currently based and Coulport.
Local opposition might delay the relocation but it would not stop it, acknowledges the report.
“Displacing the local services, houses and amenities in an area with a strong tourism industry will be very unpopular,” it says. “However it may be the best available option within the UK should Scotland become independent.”
It says that while any relocation could not be completed by the 2020 target date currently set by the Scottish government, it could be put off until 2028, the date the new fleet of Trident submarines is due to enter service.