Trident Alternatives Review: A Missed Opportunity

The United Reformed Church, the Methodist Church and BaptistUnion of Great Britain today welcomed the acknowledgement in theTrident Alternatives Review that it would be feasible for the UK toend Continuous at Sea Deterrence.   However the Churchesbelieve that an opportunity has been missed to examine the case fora WMD-free Britain, arguing that Trident is unnecessary for ourdefence and unaffordable in the current climate.    


Steve Hucklesby, Policy Adviser for the Joint Public Issues Teamsaid: "The idea that you need to have a submarine at seacontinuously, 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, simply doesn't makesense. It is a waste of precious resource and money.  


"But beyond that the UK is rightly insisting that non-nuclearweapons states restrain themselves from developing nuclear weaponstechnology. Our position only has credibility if our own nuclearpolicy recognises the reduced role for nuclear weapons in securitypolicies today."


Although internationally there is much debate around the path tozero nuclear weapons and the role that nuclear weapons states canplay, the Trident Alternatives Review has not considered thesecrucial strategic questions. 


Recognising that the nature of the threats to our security havechanged since the introduction of Trident, Roberta Rominger,General Secretary of the United Reformed Church said: "Tridentis a hangover from the Cold War era. Priorities today have changed.Spending such vast sums of money on a weapons system that couldnever be used takes money away from more productive areas. 


"We are encouraged by a growing global acceptance that thethreat of the use of weapons of mass destruction is unacceptable inany circumstance. People of all faiths deplore the notion that oursecurity must be built on the threat of widespread destruction ofhuman life."  


The Churches have argued that dispensing with Trident altogethercould have positive spin-offs for public services and employmentopportunities as well as national security. A resource titled Better Off Without Trident illustrates the vast cost of theTrident programme in comparison with other areas of Governmentexpenditure.