Press release: Cyclists take anti-cuts message to Berkshire nuclear weapons factory

  • Wheel Stop Trident’ ride leaves London this morning
  • The cyclists say cut Trident, not public services

Ten cyclists will set off from London this morning, heading for the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) based at Aldermaston and Burghfield in Berkshire. On their two-day trip, they will meet communities affected by government cuts and visit the offices of arms companies profiting from government subsidies.

The cyclists will begin at 8.30am at the offices of arms giant Lockheed Martin in Lower Regent Street. The US-based company is one of the owners of AWE. 

On their way, the ‘Wheel Stop Trident’ group will visit Ealing Hospital, which is facing the closure of its maternity unit, and meet local residents campaigning to save it. They will also visit the sustainable community Grow Heathrow and a renewable energy site near Reading. Tonight, they will stay overnight with Slough Quakers. 

The cyclists are from various parts of London, as well as Bradford, York, Hastings and Gloucestershire. In addition to the ten cyclists, three people are providing practical support while many more will join the initial demonstration at Lockheed Martin before seeing the cyclists on their way. Hundreds of others have taken to the internet to offer them their backing. Wheel Stop Trident is supported by Action AWE. 

The ride comes ahead of the Global Day of Action on Military Spending on 13 April and the general election on 7 May. Parliament will make a decision on Trident next year. 

Nikki Ray, who lives in New Malden, said:

A few weeks ago I was invited to join Wheel Stop Trident. I said yes because nuclear weapons don’t make us any safer. Our safety and security are threatened when vital public services are cut by government – while billions are spent on Trident.”

Laura Stringhetti of Ealing Save Our NHS has welcomed the cyclists’ planned visit. She said:

The closure of two A&Es in west London and the cuts in social care are already having a serious negative effect on people’s health and wellbeing. Ealing hospital’s future is still uncertain. The government tells us that austerity is necessary as there is no money left, while there is money for nuclear weapons and wars. I support initiative like Wheel Stop Trident as we need to raise awareness that the money is there but the priorities are all wrong.” 

Andrew Dey, who is from Bradford and lives in London, said:

I’m cycling from London to Burghfield because nuclear weapons do nothing towards the real security threats, such as climate change, that will only become more acute in the future. We should be investing our money, our skills and our labour to build stronger, more equal societies and a more sustainable future, not ever-more powerful weapons of mass destruction.”

Parliament is due to make a decision in 2016 on whether to renew Trident, at a cost of up to £100bn. Although a decision has not yet been made, the government has already spent millions on new facilities at AWE. Recent revelations showed that the new developments are already over-budget and behind schedule.

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ENDS

Notes

  1. The ten cyclists of Wheel Stop Trident will leave London at 8.30am today (Friday 27 March) from the offices of Lockheed Martin at Cunard House, 15 Lower Regent Street. An itinerary can be found on the Wheel Stop Trident website at https://wheelstoptrident.wordpress.com/2015/03/25/our-journey.
  2. Wheel Stop Trident is backed by Action AWE, a grassroots campaign of nonviolent actions dedicated to halting nuclear weapons production at the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), which is located at Aldermaston and Burghfield in Berkshire. Action AWE is committed to active nonviolence. It includes people of several religions and none. See http://www.actionawe.org
  3. A decision on Trident renewal is due in 2016. Despite the fact that a decision has yet to be made, the government is spending around £1bn of taxpayers’ money every year on the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE), where Trident nuclear warheads are developed. It was revealed on 8 March 2015 that key aspects of the work had been heavily delayed due to design, planning and budget problems.
  4. Polls consistently show that the majority of the British public opposes Trident renewal. Please see  http://cnduk.org/campaigns/no-to-trident/opinion-polls (external site).
  5. To arrange an interview with the cyclists or for more information, media are welcome to contact Symon Hill on 07572 289 377.
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