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From Trident to turbines: Alex Salmond’s Alba party wants to turn nuclear base into Europe’s biggest wind farm

Trident-class nuclear submarine Vanguard.
Trident-class nuclear submarine Vanguard.

Former first minister Alex Salmond’s new political party claims Britain’s nuclear weapons could be removed from their Scottish base on “day one” of independence.

The proposal – which would see it replaced with a massive wind farm – is in the first conference agenda for his Alba Party, formed shortly before the Holyrood election this year.

Alba members will be encouraged to debate the policy at their first conference in September – on the same day as the SNP is holding theirs.

Alba’s suggestion would see the Coulport weapons depot on Loch Long transformed to make use of its location on the west coast.

“Alba believe that the site would be ideally suited to be transformed from Europe’s largest storage facility of nuclear weapons to Europe’s largest windfarm,” the party claimed.

Alba Party council elections
Alex Salmond says Alba Party is ‘here to stay’

One of the motions for debate sets out how any negotiations after an independence vote would include the removal of nuclear weapons from the first day of the new Scottish state.

‘No nuclear expansion’

Alba will also put pressure on the Scottish Government to halt any importation of nuclear waste and to refuse any co-operation with the expansion of nuclear power in Scotland.

The fledgling party has around 6,000 members. Alba failed to get anyone elected at the Holyrood election in May, even with Mr Salmond’s high profile and candidacy in the North East parliamentary region.

Alba claimed the diary clash with the SNP will help highlight what they see as differences in the push for a second referendum.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has been criticised by Alba for being too cautious on leaving the UK.

What is the SNP position on Trident?

The SNP also wants to take nuclear weapons out of Scotland. In the run up to the 2014 referendum, Mr Salmond – who was in charge at the time – said Trident missiles systems could be removed within the first term of an independent Scottish Parliament.

Asked to comment, the SNP pointed to their 2021 Holyrood election manifesto.

It outlines a “firm and unequivocal opposition” to nuclear weapons.

“This includes opposition to replacement of the Trident nuclear missile system and to the UK Government plans to increase the number of nuclear warheads,” it adds.

“We want to see a world free from nuclear weapons, and an independent Scotland will be a strong and principled advocate for nuclear disarmament on the global stage. We will maintain Faslane as a traditional military and naval base.”

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