ALMOST 600 people turned out at a public meeting in Keswick to demonstrate their opposition to a nuclear waste repository being sited in the Lake District.

Members of Cumbria County Council and Allerdale and Copeland district councils are due to vote on whether the consultation should progress to stage four on January 30.

This stage would involve identifying and assessing potential sites in the county and is expected to take around four year to complete.

Cumbrian lawyer John Wilson told the meeting that the Lake District should be taken out of the equation altogether.

“A national park should only be considered when all other sites in the country have been exhausted,” he said.

“If we go to stage four of the process and the national park has not been excluded then we move onto a very slippery slope indeed, given nowhere else is being looked at.”

London and Keswick-based marketing expert Harry Marsland said: “Research shows that the Lake District has a near faultless image, and is the best-regarded UK destination, beating Devon, Cornwall and London. A nuclear dump will do significant damage to that image.”

On Saturday, campaigners will take part in a Ditch The Dump demo, organised by Radiation Free Lakeland, at Bowness Bay starting at 10am.

The Government suggests it would take around two to three decades for a facility to become operational.