A WELSH Assembly Member (AM) for North Wales believes Chirk is the perfect example of why the country needs legislation for clean air.

North Wales regional AM Llyr Gruffydd was speaking at a Plaid Cymru debate on Wednesday which is proposing a Clean Air Act.

Mr Gruffydd highlighted how the recent fire at Kronospan in Chirk, plus previous blazes at the factory, is why the country needs an act to preserve clean air.

“If you want a concrete example of why we need a Clean Air Act to protect communities and people’s health, look no further than Chirk," said Gruffydd.

"This is home to a large woodchip manufacturer, Kronospan, that recently suffered a fire in its log yard – the 17th fire in 18 years at the plant.

“Because of a lack of monitoring, it took 48 hours for residents living across the road from the burning plant to be advised to close their doors and windows.

"It took 48 hours to advise children at the school across the road not to play in the yard. It took 48 hours to get monitoring equipment up from Swansea to assess the air quality.

“This is a community that has had more than its share of such incidents and they’ve had enough. They’re now mounting weekly pickets of the plant and they want action.

"It’s a disgrace that they won’t get action from this [Labour-led] government – the minister responsible told me last week that she didn’t think an independent inquiry was necessary.

"That’s despite children and a pregnant woman being hospitalised, despite evidence that there was formaldehyde present in the air that was eventually monitored (48 hours after the worst of the fire) and the carcinogenic dangers of damp wood smoke.

"And just to be clear, this was no small fire – 7,000 tonnes of wood were destroyed in this fire.

“Places like Chirk are why we need a Clean Air Act – to force complacent governments to act rather than wash their hands of responsibility."