10 April 2007: for immediate release
77 Year-Old Held Whilst Opposing New Warheads
Work Being Carried Out Years Before Any Parliamentary Vote
The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament today welcomed the blockading of the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) at Aldermaston where building work on facilities for developing a new generation of nuclear warheads is progressing.
Around 70 protesters took part in the action, organised by Trident Ploughshares, with 11 arrested for obstructing the highway and currently in custody at Newbury police station.
First to be arrested was veteran peace and anti-nuclear campaigner Pat Arrowsmith, 77, part of a group of 5 who used ‘lock-on’ tubes to tie themselves together whilst sitting outside the Boiler House Gate shortly before 7am. A further group of 6 were arrested whilst similarly blocking the A340 near to Aldermaston village, with police taking around an hour and a half to cut them free and arrest them.
Kate Hudson, Chair of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, said, “Today’s arrests step up the campaign to prevent the building of facilities designed to test new nuclear warheads. When debating the replacement of Trident submarines the Government promised future votes on warhead development, so why is this multi-billion pound development pre-empting this?”
The Government White Paper on Trident claimed decisions on any replacement warhead were not necessary until the next Parliament, with the MoD claiming the new ORION laser and hydrodynamics laboratories being constructed are for testing current warhead designs.
Kate Hudson continued “CND agrees with scientific reports which state there is no need for such facilities to simply monitor and ensure reliability in the current warheads. This is another case of the Government pre-empting public and parliamentary debate, ignoring the 72% of the public who do not want Britain to make a commitment now to having nuclear weapons in 20 years time.” (see note 2 and 3)
Notes to Editor:
1. For further information and interviews please contact Rick Wayman, CND’s Press & Communications Officer, on 0207 7002350 or 07968 420859
2. ‘Britain’s new bomb programme exposed’ report, published by Greenpeace in October 2006, available here
3. A More4/Populus poll of February 2007 showed 72% of the public either supporting scrapping Trident now, or to keeping the current system, but not currently committing to have nuclear weapons in 20 years time. Call CND for a full copy of the poll.
4. According to a July 2006 ICM poll, 59% of the British public opposes a replacement of Trident when presented with a cost of at least £25 billion.
5.The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) is one of Europe’s biggest single-issue peace campaigns, with over 35,000 members in the UK. CND campaigns for the abolition of all nuclear weapons everywhere.