BOSSES at a nuclear laundry operating on a Workington industrial estate have formally lodged an application in a bid to bring it into line with planning rules.

Allerdale council had launched an investigation into the Energy Coast Laundry site at Lillyhall following a complaint from environmental pressure group Radiation Free Lakeland.

A subsequent inspection of the site by planning officers revealed that original permission for general industrial use had indeed been changed before it opened as a laundry.

Separate public safety concerns raised by Radiation Free Lakeland are not a planning issue and are regulated by the Environment Agency.

Those who run the laundry have already moved to reassure the public, insisting that they deal only with “none active” basic clothing worn by Sellafield workers and contractors.

A council spokesman said: “Allerdale council’s planning officers have undertaken further investigations including inspections.

“Following these investigations it has become apparent that there are built structures which do require regularisation with planning permission and we are working with company officials to resolve this.

“Whilst the issues include the use of structures as a laundry, the type of material being cleaned is not a planning issue.”

Previously, the council stressed that the plans had been through the proper scrutiny and that there was “no evidence” to suggest that the activity on site at the laundry was in breach of planning legislation.

Marianne Birkby of Radiation Free Lakeland previously claimed that the borough council was “colluding” with Sellafield's agenda in a bid to “divert nuclear activity miles away from its main site and into the public domain using private companies to carry out lucrative contracts to pollute the wider environment.”

She said: “The assurance from Allerdale council that the laundry from Sellafield is screened and that the drains at the ECL laundry checked daily smacks of complicity with the nuclear industry rather than any desire to protect the public or our increasingly stressed environment including the increasing nuclear industry use of the public water supply."

But council leader Marion Fitzgerald, who visited the site and met with staff, said she was satisfied that the site poses no risk to the general public.

In his pre-application planning advice, officer Simon Sharp said that Allerdale recognised the “significant contribution” that ECL makes to the economy.

He added: “It is my informal opinion that the development (the retention of the use and the buildings) would be supported if an application was made.”