A CAMPAIGN group is calling for the end of the 'frightening' practice of transporting nuclear warheads along roads in Cumbria and elsewhere.

Cumbria and Lancashire Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament made the call after a Ministry of Defence convoy believed to be carrying nuclear warheads from the Burghfield Nuclear Weapons Establishment in Berkshire to the Trident submarine base at Faslane in Scotland was spotted on the M6.

Campaigners from CND groups said they saw the convoy at the M6 passing junction 36 at Crooklands and later at junction 40 near Penrith.

Speaking on behalf of the campaigners, South Lakeland CND chair Philip Gilligan said:  "Thinking about the potentially catastrophic consequences of an accident involving one of these convoys should scare us all.

"Seeing them carrying their lethal cargoes in amongst the everyday motorway traffic - ambulances, school buses, commuters, holidaymakers and HGVs - is frightening enough, but it is even more terrifying to reflect on the fact that these convoys are sometimes passing only a few hundred metres from ordinary homes, primary schools and hospitals.

"We need them off all our roads."     

The route through Cumbria is said to be a common one for UK defence vehicles and is where Trident nuclear warheads were also spotted in May 2021.

The Nukewatch has raised serious concerns over the safety of nuclear convoys, saying: "Nuclear weapons convoys often pass close to or even through large towns.

"It would be impossible to evacuate heavily populated areas on the routes in time to avoid the potential consequences of a traffic accident involving a nuclear warhead.

"MOD accident guidelines do not explain whether traffic would be quarantined, sent on its way or gridlocked in the contaminated zone."

The Ministry of Defence has stressed that convoy operations are conducted by highly trained personnel under strict conditions to maintain safety and security.

An MOD spokesperson said: “Defence nuclear materials are transported only when necessary and the safety and security of the public are the highest priority. 

“All convoy operations follow strict and safe procedures."