About 200 tonnes of chemicals that would have been used to make deadly weapons in Syria have arrived in Hampshire.
A Danish ship called the Ark Futura docked at Marchwood Military Port this morning carrying a cargo that included 44 tonnes of hydrochloric acid and six tonnes of hydrogen fluoride.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said the chemicals would be offloaded and taken away by contractors.
As reported in the Daily Echo last month the chemicals will be transported overland to Ellesmere Port in Cheshire where they will be destroyed at a specialist plant owned by Veolia.
The cargo was originally due to arrive in late August but the date has been brought forward.
Speaking last month a Foreign office spokesman said the chemicals would not pose a threat to human health.
She added: “They will have been diluted to such an extent that will minimise their potential and there is no risk to local populations.
“There are detailed plans to liaise with local councils and the Environment Agency and community groups.”
A spokesman for Veolia said that B precursor chemicals were routinely used in the pharmaceutical industry and were similar in nature to standard industrial materials safely processed at its plant.
Marchwood county councillor Cllr David Harrison said: “There is a job that needs to be done and the port is very experienced and has the facilities.
“I believe and have faith there will be no risk to human health.”
Syria is believed to posses 1,300 tonnes of chemical agents, including the nerve agent sarin, which was unleashed by President Bashar al-Assad on civilians in Ghouta last August, when more than 1,000 people died.
The shipment of so-called B precursor chemicals is part of a major international scheme to destroy the stockpiles after the regime of President al-Assad brokered a deal with the US and Russia.
The chemicals are being transported out of the country by sea as part of a multi-national mission overseen by the United Nations Security Council and the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).
The components have deliberately been separated into two different vessels for safety so that they cannot be used to create weapons.