Councils asked to fund environmental monitoring

Councils asked to fund environmental monitoring
Published: 01 February 2005

UK town and community councils are being asked to fund independent environmental checks around Castle Cement‘s works at Padeswood. Castle Cement Liaison Committee, which campaigns against the firm’s new £40 million kiln which is currently being built at the Padeswood works, has asked councils to set aside thousands of pounds to pay for the independent monitoring. This week Buckley town council approved a plan to spend £5,000 of next year’s budget on the independent checks. The Environment Agency Wales already monitor particle matter in the air around the site, but the committee claims these do not go far enough.

Committee member Cllr Arnold Woolley said the third-party monitoring will involve independent laboratories carrying out detailed analyses of air, soil and water around the site, where the new Kiln 4 will be commissioned this summer. He said: “We set up a subcommittee to examine the possibility of getting our own checks done, and found that it would cost around UK£130,000 over three years. We have contacted all the relevant town and community councils to ask them to contribute. “We think the Environment Agency’s approach is inadequate.”

However, an Agency spokesman stressed continuous monitoring was carried out at four locations and that additional checks were not warranted. He said: “At this stage the Agency does not believe that any additional ambient air monitoring is necessary to assess the impact of the operations of the Castle Cement works and that no further expenditure by the Agency or Castle Cement could be justified. We will continue to review its own monitoring requirements and will discuss these in detail with the Castle Cement Liaison Committee.

Danny Coulston, general manager of the Padeswood site, added: “We feel this is not really necessary. We are tightly regulated by the Environment Agency and already have approximately 20 types of monitors. “The new Kiln 4 improves emissions by 90 per cent, and our new permit for that kiln is one of the strictest in Europe.”

The new kiln is being built following a public enquiry into the plans. This finally ended last month following consultations with groups, statutory bodies and local people. The Agency concluded emissions would not have an unacceptable impact on human health or cause significant pollution and a permit was given, subject to strict monitoring conditions.