Flintshire cement factory probe making progress

Reporter:

Helen Davies

AN INVESTIGATION into health and environmental concerns surrounding a cement factory has taken a step further.

A second meeting of public health experts and community representatives has discussed progress on a study into fears about the Hanson Cement factory in Padeswood.

The meeting in Mold was told the response team had put into place four different programmes to respond to the concerns raised by the community.

These include an environmental risk assessment group which will review chemicals used at the plant and the way in which people might be exposed to contamination.

There is also a health response group which will review existing data on cancer rates and assess perceived “clusters” of disease.

Andrew Jones, executive director of Public Health for Betsi Cadwaldr University Health Board and chairman of the response team, said: “Cancer clusters themselves are very complex and sometimes can’t be explained, but we need to go through this process to see what information can be gathered.

“There are concerns in the community and it’s right they need to be dealt with appropriately.”

Community engagement and communication programmes have also been set up and will involve members of the local community being invited to focus groups to discuss their concerns.

There had previously been disagreement between community leaders and representatives of Hanson Cement with regard to how long the process should take.

Mr Jones said: “We are undertaking very detailed work which cannot be rushed so we can’t guess at the timeframes involved. We’re looking at months rather than years.”

A spokesman from Hanson Cement told the Leader: “Hanson Cement understands residents’ concerns and offers its full support to the review launched by Public Health Wales. It is important local people are reassured they have nothing to fear from the works.

“Hanson Cement is reassured by the professional and even-handed way Public Health Wales is conducting the review but would like to see a more clearly defined timescale for the process to enable matters to be conducted without delay.”

Public Health Wales has received more than 40 comments so far on Hanson Cement from members of the local community.

People can still email their comments on Hanson Cement to general.enquiries@wales.nhs.uk or write to: Hanson Cement Investigation, Public Health Wales, Preswylfa, Hendy Road, Mold, CH7 1PZ.

See full story in the Leader

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