Answers demanded over 'snowfall' from factory in Chirk

Reporter:

Jonathan Grieve

Urgent answers are being sought after a town was covered in debris from a nearby wood factory.

Residents in Chirk contacted Clwyd South MP Susan Elan Jones following the pollution incident on Wednesday evening, with many likening the falling material to a “snowfall”.

Ms Jones has contacted Kronospan for an explanation and will be making representations to Wrexham Council, as well as Natural Resources Wales, after large areas of the town became covered in debris due to an accidental discharge from the site.

Following large numbers of contacts from concerned residents in Chirk, who likened the falling material to a “snowfall”, the Clwyd South MP said: “Following last night’s incident, my constituents deserve a proper explanation in relation to what has occurred.

”As with previous cases, I have made immediate representations to Wrexham Council and to Natural Resources Wales.

“I do of course recognise that Kronospan is a very important local employer. I appreciate the importance of the industry.

”However, this situation is completely unacceptable and untenable for my constituents.

”Clearly urgent answers are needed along with assurances that this will never happen again.”

Chirk North councillor, Frank Hemmings, said: “A meeting with the Environment Liaison Group, the town council and Kronospan will take place on Monday.

“Kronospan will be expected to provide Natural Resources Wales and Wrexham Council with explanations regarding this worrying incident.”

The incident led to Chirk Youth FC’s under-13s having to postpone their match on Wednesday evening, after the fibres fell onto the pitch and created safety concerns.

A Kronospan spokesman said: “Kronospan wishes to profusely apologise to residents for the incident that led to a fibre release last evening, leading to wood fibres being emitted off site.

“The process was immediately stopped and a clean-up process both on and off site was implemented.

“Initial investigations indicate that one of the cyclones on MDF blocked and this is now being cleared to allow us to identify the precise cause of this failure.”

The firm said anyone affected by the incident could call 01691 773361.

Cllr Hugh Jones, Wrexham Council’s lead member for communities, partnerships, public protection and community safety, said: “The Kronospan site benefits from an environmental permit issued by Wrexham Council, one of the conditions of which is that the operator controls any dust emissions.

“As part of that permit, the operator has a duty to inform the council of any emissions off-site, as experienced yesterday evening. We have been notified in accordance with that permit.

“The operator immediately stopped the process and has since instigated a clean-op operation on and off site.

“Wrexham Council officers are currently investigating the circumstances of the incident.”

Email:

jonathan.grieve@nwn.co.uk

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