The Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) Scotland Forum welcomes the passing of two resolutions at its most recent meeting by West Dunbartonshire Council to support the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW), to develop plans to deal with the climate emergency and to seek divestment of Council pension funds from investment in companies supporting fossil fuels and nuclear weapons. (1)
The TPNW resolution was passed last Wednesday 29th May and West Dunbartonshire Council are now the fourth UK Council to formally support the Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons and the ICAN (International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons) Cities Appeal. The other three are Manchester City Council, Renfrewshire Council and Hebden Royd Town Council.
The Treaty for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons was agreed by 122 nations at the United Nations in July 2017 and is currently in the process of being ratified as an international treaty. It seeks to unlock the stalemate on nuclear weapons to encourage multilateral nuclear disarmament, a process which helped ICAN receive the 2017 Nobel Peace Prize. The West Dunbartonshire resolution also encouraged focus on the dangers of the transport of nuclear weapons by road, which often goes through its remit, given its closeness to the Faslane Trident naval base.
NFLA also welcomes a second resolution that acknowledges that there now exists a climate emergency and calls on concerted action to tackle it. This resolution also calls on the Council to ask the Strathcylde Pension Fund to divest funds from companies involved in fossil fuel production. A successful amendment added that divestment from companies involved in the maintenance and production of nuclear weapons was also called for from the Council.
Such resolutions are important to bringing a local and national focus to important issues which the NFLA work extensively on. The possibility of a conflagration using nuclear weapons is perhaps higher than at any time since the end of the Cold War, whilst climate change is the single greatest existential threat to the planet. NFLA will continue to call for both multilateral nuclear disarmament and joined-up and concerted strategies that aim to reduce carbon emissions rapidly at the local, national and international level. It also welcomes a new concern to see Council pension funds divest from companies involved in fossil fuels and nuclear weapons.
NFLA is encouraging its member Councils to pass similar resolutions, while providing it with detailed research on ways to tackle climate change and promote decentralised energy strategies and projects that can tackle the climate emergency. Its latest report offers advice on this matter and promotes best practice examples across all areas of local government in ways to bridge the carbon gap over the next two decades. (2)
NFLA Scotland Convener Councillor Feargal Dalton said:
“I am delighted that West Dunbartonshire Council has passed resolutions to support the Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty, tackle the climate emergency and call from divestment in Council pension fund investments in fossil fuels and nuclear weapons. These resolutions are part of a concerted campaign to call for a different strategy to dealing with two of the most pressing challenges that affects us all. They are very much part of a philosophy as well of think local, act global which has been at the heart of NFLA’s work over the past 39 years. I urge other Councils to join with us in dealing with these critical challenges and helping in our way to a safer, sustainable and more peaceful world.”
West Dunbartonshire Councillor Ian Dickson added:
“We have clearly demonstrated our concerns, for our safety, health, environment, the global food chain, for future generations and their cultural inheritance. West Dunbartonshire doesn’t need or want these ‘Nukes of Hazard’ passing through our local areas. These weapons of mass destruction are travelling far too close for comfort to our homes, schools, and workplaces and this motion reasserts that they are not wanted on our soil in West Dunbartonshire.”
Ends – for more information please contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 00 44 (0)161 234 3244.
Notes for editors:
(1) The West Dunbartonshire Council resolution on nuclear weapons passed on the 29th May is as follows:
Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons –
“West Dunbartonshire Council is deeply concerned about the grave threat that nuclear weapons pose to communities throughout the world. We firmly believe that our residents have the right to live in a world free from this threat. Any use of nuclear weapons, whether deliberate or accidental, would have catastrophic, far-reaching and long-lasting consequences for people and the environment.
“Council fully supports the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons (TPNW) as one of the most effective ways to bring about long-term and verifiable multilateral nuclear disarmament and reaffirms our commitment to West Dunbartonshire’s designation as a Nuclear Free Zone. To this end Council asserts its opposition to the illegal transportation of nuclear weapons on our roads and rail networks on moral and safety grounds.
“Council instructs the Leader of the Council to write to the UK Government to inform them of this resolution and urge them to take account of it.”
An additional resolution was passed on acknowledging and dealing with the climate emergency. It also called on the Strathcylde Pension Fund (SPF) to divest funds from companies involved in fossil fuels. An addendum was agreed to also ask the SPF to divest from companies involved in the maintenance or development of nuclear weapons. The resolution will be sent to the SPF and the Convener of its Pension Committee.
(2) NFLA Policy Briefing 187 and media release, 7th May 2019