CAMPAIGNERS are calling for scrutiny over controversial plans to store radioactive scrap metal at a town port.

Radiation Free Lakeland have written to Stewart Young, leader of Cumbria County Council, raising concerns over plans to house either 40 full size or 80 half size shipping containers of radioactive scrap metal at the Port of Workington.

An application lodged by metal recycling facility Cyclife Ltd, based at Lillyhall industrial estate, for a permit to store low-level radioactive waste at the port, has been approved by the Environment Agency, sparking outrage by those opposed to the nuclear industry.

Marianne Birkby, of Radiation Free Lakeland, says the application was not made known to the public and that the group only found out “by accident” when they asked for the details under a Freedom of Information request, following a short online consultation carried out in October last year.

She claims the reason behind a new host site for radioactive waste at the Port of Workington, which is owned by Cumbria County Council, is due to the Cyclife plant at Lillyhall being “out of control”.

In the letter to Mr Young, the campaigners say a “tsunami of radioactive scrap metal” has arrived at the Lillyhall site from the nuclear decommissioning industry.

They say the original plans for the site in 2007 were for 15 containers, and this has now increased to 160 containers.

The letter, which has been shared with the News & Star, says: “We would like to know why the stacking of 80 shipping containers full of radioactive scrap metal is not being put through any form of scrutiny by Cumbria County Council?”

“Allerdale Borough Councillors were unaware of the application to the Environment Agency by Cyclife, whose radioactive metal recycling facility is overflowing, and have had no opportunity to discuss or vote on the issue, likewise Cumbria county councillors.”

Ms Birkby says the group has been contacted by worried residents and businesses in Workington, who are “vehemently opposed” to the scheme.

Among those against it are Fiona Heslam, a former teacher, who lives near Workington.

She said: “This situation is not acceptable. There is a school, and a large further education college, near the site at Lillyhall.

“This county is already disproportionately impacted by the nuclear industry and the aspirations of local politicians appear tied to old industrial processes which cause both immediate and long-term problems.”

Cumbria County Council was contacted for comment but was unable to provide a response in time for print.