ENVIRONMENTAL campaigners want plans to dispose of radioactive waste from the Sellafield nuclear plant in the New Forest to be scrapped.

They have called for the low-level radioactive waste oil, which is stored in sealed UN-approved drums, to remain at the Cumbrian plant.

The risk to the Hampshire public is considered negligible as the level of radiation is thousands of times lower than that which arises from everyday natural radiation exposure.

There are fears transporting it 350 miles could be an environmental disaster if a truck was involved in an accident.

Under a proposal ten trucks a year would make the journey from Cumbria to a Spanish-owned incinerator in Fawley.

New Forest Friends of the Earth spokesman John Walker said: “We totally object to the proposals and we see no reason why this should not be dealt with elsewhere.

“We are also concerned that this could set a precedent for nuclear waste from other sources to be disposed of in the New Forest.”

Each truck would carry about 40 barrels of radioactive waste, which consists of contaminated lubricants, as well as hydraulic and engine oils.

If approved by the environment Agency, up to 100 cubic metres of the waste would be sent to Hampshire each year.

The Fawley incinerator is the only treatment plant in the UK authorised to deal with this type of waste.

New Forest Liberal Democrat Councillor David Harrison said: “I think it is irresponsible of central Government to transport waste of that nature such large distances.

“You would have thought that if you are going to produce material of that type then you are going to provide a facility to deal with it on or near the site.”

The first load, which is likely to travel down the busy M3, M27 and A326, could arrive as early as the spring.

Once incinerated, the ash will be dumped at the Pound Bottom landfill site near Salisbury.

New Forest District Council leader Barry Rickman said: “I am confident that the material they are transporting does not pose a danger to the residents of the New Forest.”

Barrie Foley, New Forest National Park Authority interim chief executive, said the NPA had not been consulted on the plans.