The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) welcomes the decision made yesterday by Renfrewshire Council to formally support the International Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). It follows on shortly from a similar resolution passed by Manchester City Council. Both resolutions call on the UK Government to become engaged in this nuclear disarmament process. (1)
The TPNW was agreed at the UN by 122 countries (including the Republic of Ireland) in July 2017 and is currently being ratified, a process that is expected to conclude in 2019. The Treaty is a concerted attempt to move forward with multilateral nuclear disarmament, but it has been opposed at every stage by the nuclear weapon states, including the United Kingdom. NATO members, and states like Australia and Japan who are linked to American security policies, have also opposed this process.
This initiative is part of a global push led by the Nobel Peace Laureate the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (or ICAN). It is fully supported by NFLA and the Mayors for Peace. ICAN’s Cities Appeal encourages Councils to pass resolutions as a tool to challenge states who have opposed the Treaty. (2) In recent weeks cities like Los Angeles, Baltimore, Sydney, Melbourne, Fremantle, Toronto, Manchester and Granollers have passed resolutions of support for the TPNW.
Renfrewshire Council’s resolution goes further by calling for a change in UK defence policy away from the expensive development of a Trident replacement programme in favour of the promotion of multilateral nuclear disarmament. NFLA promotes a policy of defence diversification to protect jobs and to support appropriate initiatives like the Scottish Government’s ‘Just Transition’ programme.
NFLA remains highly concerned with the position of the international debate on nuclear weapons. The United States have recently announced plans to abrogate from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty, which brought about considerable nuclear disarmament in the 1980s. There also remains real tensions with North Korea’s nuclear weapon programme, and with Iran’s nuclear programme. There is an urgent need for moves to encourage multilateral nuclear disarmament. The TPNW arose from a greater level of understanding of the dire humanitarian consequences of ever using nuclear weapons again in the world. There remain 14,575 nuclear weapons in the world today. (3)
Renfrewshire Council’s NFLA representative Councillor Audrey Doig, who proposed the resolution said: “I am honoured to have proposed this resolution to Renfrewshire Council and proud it has given its support to the International Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons. With the Trident nuclear submarines just a few miles from Paisley and the Renfrewshire district, councillors are fully aware of the real risks of nuclear weapons. On a regular basis, road convoys take nuclear weapons through our district, which we have consistently opposed. Through NFLA, Mayors for Peace and ICAN we must work together to encourage states to sign and ratify this Treaty, and follow the example of Councils like Renfrewshire who see the true benefit of multilateral nuclear disarmament.”
NFLA Steering Committee Chair, Councillor David Blackburn said:
“I am delighted to hear that Renfrewshire Council has passed a resolution supporting the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons, following on from Manchester’s resolution. I know many other NFLA members will be following their actions in the near future. Nuclear weapons are a costly and an unnecessary weapon of complete destruction that the world needs to do without. NFLA is proud to work with Hiroshima and Nagasaki and many other towns and cities that call for a different form of defence policy and a new progressive form of international security. We strongly support ICAN’s Cities Appeal and urge other Councils to follow the example of Renfrewshire and Manchester.”
Ends – for more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 0161 234 3244.
Notes for editors:
(1) Renfrewshire Council resolution passed 13th December, The International Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons:
“Renfrewshire Council is an active member of the Nuclear Free Local Authorities Scotland Forum, and a member of the Hiroshima-led Mayors for Peace; both of which have been working for over 3 decades to promote multilateral nuclear disarmament.
NFLA and Mayors for Peace work with the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN), which received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2017 for its work in encouraging over two thirds of United Nations members to agree to the International Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons (TPNW). Council regrets that the Governments of the existing nuclear weapon states, including the UK, refuse to support the Treaty. Council fully supports the TPNW as one of the most effective ways to bring about long-term and verifiable multilateral nuclear disarmament.
Council calls on the United Kingdom Government to lead a global effort to prevent nuclear war by:
- Renouncing the option of using nuclear weapons first;
- Cancelling the plan to replace its entire Trident nuclear arsenal with enhanced weapons;
- Actively pursuing a verifiable agreement among nuclear-armed states to eliminate their nuclear arsenals by supporting the Treaty to Prohibit Nuclear Weapons and the ‘Good Faith’ Protocols within the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
The Council will ask the Chief Executive to write to the UK Government to inform them of this resolution and urge them to take account of it.”
(2) ICAN Cities Appeal, November 2018
http://www.icanw.org/campaign-news/los-angeles-sydney-and-toronto-join-new-ican-cities-appeal/ and http://www.icanw.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/ICAN-Cities-Appeal.pdf
(3) Ploughshares Fund