Taller chimney stack plan to reduce 'blue haze'


Iwan Berry

PLANS for a taller chimney stack at an industrial plant can now go ahead.

Members of Wrexham Council’s planning committee have approved plans for an extension to an abatement stack at the Kronospan works in Chirk with the aim of cutting down on the level of “blue haze” plumes seen in the area.

The proposal was for an extension measuring 2.35 metres in diameter by seven metres high to the existing 15-metre abatement stack.

Chirk councillor Ian Roberts described the decision as a “catch 22” situation.

Speaking at last night’s meeting, he said: “It’s one of those things you don’t want, but you know you need.”

He added the blue smoke pumped out of the stack had ceased in 1998, but with its return residents were looking for a permanent solution.

The addition of a scrubbing system in the abatement stack was seen to have worked and cleared the blue smoke, but only briefly.

He added: “If I don’t say ‘give it planning permission’, we will never get rid of the situation.

“But if I say ‘give it planning permission’. we could still have the same problem and end up with a bigger stack.”

Toni Slater, Wrexham’s service manager for public protection, said the new system had cut down on the pollutants  in the smoke by a third, but because of a large amount of water vapour, the emissions were not moving on and could often return to the ground.

She added an extension to the stack, as well as a lip on its edge, could help solve the problem by emitting the smoke higher into the atmosphere.

Cllr David Kelly, who represents Minera, moved that Kronospan be permitted to make the extension, subject to a 12-month review but his proposal was rejected by a vote of nine members four and 10 against.

Cllr Roberts moved the application be approved, but with a note in the minutes that if the emissions continued to pose a problem, Kronospan would be pursued by the council’s environmental services officers.

His proposal was passed with 14 votes for and four against.

Cllr Roberts said after the meeting: “It’s as good as we could have got through planning.”

See full story in the Leader

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