A PETITION launched against controversial plans to store radioactive scrap metal at a town port has been signed by hundreds of people.

Marianne Birkby, founder of Radiation Free Lakeland, started the petition against the 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.

Campaigners are calling on Cumbria County Council, which owns and operates the port, and Workington MP Mark Jenkinson to take concerns about the plans seriously.

They are also pushing for a full discussion and vote on the plans by councillors.

Ms Birkby said she is concerned that the containers would be “just metres from residential areas in Workington” and claims that “health and the environment come cheap in Cumbria when it comes to nuclear impacts”.

Campaigners will be in Workington town centre this Saturday in the area of the ‘look out clock’ from 1-3pm, to collect more signatures for the petition and hear residents’ views.

A spokesman for Cyclife Ltd said: “Cyclife is a responsible and licensed nuclear operator and refutes the factually incorrect and misleading statements of Radiation Free Lakeland.

“Following a public consultation during 2020, Cyclife has been granted an Environmental Permit in April 2021 from the Environment Agency to utilise storage at the Port of Workington and this operation is in full compliance with all required legislation.

“Containers securely stored at the port are either empty or of very low hazard potential. In granting this permit the Environment Agency concluded that this “will not pose a risk to local residents or local sensitive receptors.”

Cyclife managing director, Joe Robinson, added: “Cyclife provides safe and secure decommissioning and waste services to support the Government’s mission to remediate its legacy nuclear sites.

“This in turn supports more than 50 high-quality, environmentally-beneficial jobs in Workington, providing the best environmental option for recycling the scrap metal arising”.

Workington MP Mark Jenkinson said: “I think it’s a gross misrepresentation of what will be stored at the port by people who have no stake in West Cumbria.

“There’s positively no danger to people who live nearby.

"We are talking about ultra low level waste.

"It’s regulated in law. It needs to meet all sorts of environmental considerations.

“There is no issue with it whatsoever and it’s great to see more use and development of the port which was in my plan before I got elected.”

To sign the petition, go to: https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/no-radioactive-scrap-metal-depot-at-the-port-of-workington