Calls to appoint new watchdog on cement kiln

Calls to appoint new watchdog on cement kiln
Published: 31 May 2005

Calls were growing last night for an independent watchdog to monitor a controversial new £4m cement kiln.  The huge 300ft kiln at Padeswood near Buckley is due to be fired up next month.  It will burn chemical and plastic wastes as well as old tyres.  The kiln will be monitored by owners Castle Cement and independent government body Environment Agency Wales.  But campaigners fear more safeguards need to be put in place after environment protection officers failed to pick up on an earlier problem at the site.  Castle recently closed one of its old kilns because it was releasing too many hazardous dioxins into the atmosphere. 

The chairman of the works" liaison committee, Flintshire county councillor Derek Darlington, is now making a direct written appeal to villagers in Penyffordd.  He wants them to urge the community council to contribute each year for extra monitoring and auditing of Castle"s results.  The community council has so far not given a financial pledge - which equates to 4p a week from every elector in the village. 

Penyffordd"s other county councillor, Colin Bithell, is also worried that commissioning of the new kiln is approaching and no independent monitoring has been agreed" For the last six months or so, kiln 3 has obviously been unstable and now we know it put dioxins into the atmosphere above nationally agreed averages. We don"t really know how long that situation went on for and remember this was picked up by the company and not by the agency." 

Mr Darlington says the community council has unanimously opposed an application by Castle to have a hazardous waste tip within the factory site, to dump waste dust from the kiln. 

A spokesman at the Environment Agency said: "There is still a notice in place obliging Castle to keep kiln 3 closed and 1 and 2 kilns have been closed by the company in readiness for commissioning of kiln 4, which could take weeks or months.  A decision on whether to prosecute Castle for excessive dioxin emissions from kiln 3 was still under consideration, he added.