A council boss has described the suggestion to store nuclear waste in Sussex as "bizarre" and "inappropriate".

West Sussex County Council leader Henry Smith was reacting to an appeal from Central Government to store nuclear waste in Mid Sussex.

Coun Smith said there were no plans to approve such a storage facility.

He said: "It's a bizarre request. As far as West Sussex is concerned, we wouldn't entertain hosting a nuclear waste site. We don't think it would be appropriate in an area that has a high and growing population of residents, particularly in Mid Sussex which is a residential area.

"Also the geology of most of West Sussex would not be suitable. Even if it was an option, we have aquifers and underground gas and oil supplies, which could become contaminated by a facility like the one proposed."

Plans to build radioactive waste storage facilities were unveiled last month by Environment Secretary Hilary Benn.

Mr Benn said there would be incentives for local communities which agreed to host a "geological disposal facility" for the country's nuclear waste.

Mid Sussex District Council chief executive John Jory said the council had no interest in discussing the plans.

A Defra spokesman said: "An approach based on voluntarism and partnership was recommended by the Independent Committee on Radioactive Waste Management who spent more than two and a half years considering and evaluating all the options on the basis of wide engagement with the expert community, stakeholders and members of the public.

"Furthermore, overseas experience (for example Belgium, Canada, Finland and Sweden) suggests that a voluntary partnership approach to local engagement is likely to be the most effective way of addressing the concerns and aspirations of communities considering hosting a geological facility, whilst also providing a workable mechanism for identifying a suitable site. A geological disposal facility will not proceed unless the independent regulators are content that it is safe, secure and environmentally acceptable."