Concerns over removal of Cement Works monitoring equipment from Flintshire village
Concerns have been raised after a cement firm confirmed it is planning to remove environmental monitoring equipment from a village.
Hanson Cement Works in Padeswood said they will be taking away an air monitoring station currently located at Penyffordd Bowling Club at the end of the month as it is no longer needed.
The company claims it has consulted with the local community, but both of the village’s county councillors said they had not been made aware and have condemned the move.
Earlier plans to close the station were shelved in 2014 after residents voiced their opposition and said they wanted reassurances that their health was not being impacted by dust emissions from the factory.
In 2010 a probe was launched by the Welsh Government amid claims that cancer rates are higher among people living close to the plant, but in July 2012 inspectors said they had found no evidence that the works were causing a hazard.
However, Penyfford councillor David Williams said that residents deserve to know that air quality is being closely monitored in the area .
Cllr Williams said: “I had heard the rumour that they weren’t going to have it any more and that is of serious concern to the village really because of the nature of the monitoring, and it needs to be a little more transparent.
“There’s still concerns over some of the stuff that comes from there and we have dropped on us from time to time.
“It was voiced at a community council meeting that we do need some monitoring remaining in the village, whether it be at the bowling club or elsewhere.
“They got approval for the new crusher and at the planning committee meeting when it was approved, I asked for a further health check in the village and further monitoring but it wasn’t put in as a condition.
“Nobody’s looking to have the place removed because it’s an important employer, but people are worried about health related issues.”
Flintshire Council approved permission for a new mill at the cement works at the end of last year as part of a £20 million upgrade, which the company said would secure around 100 jobs.
It will see the existing four mills replaced with a brand new facility after the firm said it needed new equipment to keep up with the rising demand for cement.
Fellow county councillor Cindy Hinds has also called for monitoring equipment remain in the village.
She said: “I feel as though it still needs monitoring because this a new mill and the other one was monitored.
“We do have a liasion committee which a person from the community council goes to and keeps us up to date, but personally I haven’t been contacted to say this has been removed from the village and what do you think.”
In a statement, Hanson Cement air quality would still continue to be monitored at source.
Spokesman David Weeks said: “The air quality monitoring equipment at Penyffordd bowls club is due to be removed at the end of the month following a period of consultation with local stakeholders.
“The monitoring station is no longer used or required for compliance purposes; air quality is maintained through control of emissions at source with data from a number of emission points reviewed on a daily basis by the site team and monitored and audited by Natural Resources Wales.
“The decision to remove the equipment was discussed and agreed by our factory community liaison group and earlier this year we wrote to Buckley, Penyffordd and Leeswood councils to inform them of the decision.
“We also pointed out that although the offsite monitoring station is being removed, the cement plant’s emissions remain highly regulated and we are committed to minimising the impact of our operations on the environment.”
By Liam Randall – Local Democracy Reporter.
📷 Google/Hanson Cement
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