No U-turn over Bishopton closure

British Aerospace and the MoD have dismissed reports of a reprieve for the Royal Ordnance munitions plant at Bishopton, near Glasgow. Bishopton, one of 11 RO plants owned by British Aerospace, is to close by the end of 2000, having lost a £200m order for artillery shell propellant to South African rival Somchem in December. […]

British Aerospace and the MoD have dismissed reports of a reprieve for the Royal Ordnance munitions plant at Bishopton, near Glasgow.

Bishopton, one of 11 RO plants owned by British Aerospace, is to close by the end of 2000, having lost a £200m order for artillery shell propellant to South African rival Somchem in December.

This week, however, a leaked BAe management memo revealed an apparent shortfall in the amount of ammunition needed to train the crews of Britain’s Challenger 2 tanks. Bishopton is the only UK source of propellant charges for the ammunition.

A spokesman for the MoD dismissed reports of any shortfall in propellant.

British Aerospace said that even if Bishopton was called upon to produce the propellant, its closure was inevitable. ‘If the Government wants the charges, Bishopton could produce them, but it will still close,’ a spokesman said.