Kronospan: Air monitors for factory after pollution fears

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Kronospan factory, ChirkImage source, Wrexham County Borough Council
Image caption,
Kronospan employs more than 600 people at its Chirk plant

Air quality monitoring equipment will be installed near a wood panel factory following concerns about pollution.

Kronospan in Chirk, near Wrexham, suffered a major fire in January which created large plumes of smoke.

Children from a nearby primary school were kept indoors amid health fears.

Monitoring equipment will be put in place as a condition of permission granted for a building to house two new gas engines in a £200m expansion programme.

Wrexham councillors approved the application subject to Kronospan paying for the apparatus, which will provide real time data for members of the public.

'Street cred'

Frank Hemmings, a member for Chirk, welcomed the agreement to provide independent monitoring.

He told planning officers: "I know your colleagues in public protection are quite happy with the air quality, but I think we need the community of Chirk to follow that and understand that the air quality is what we say it is."

Planning committee member Paul Pemberton added: "I'm pleased that Kronospan are actually going to be doing something.

"It will do their street cred and the village and the whole of Wrexham a lot more good by doing so."

A decision on the gas engines had been delayed from January amid claims the proposals posed a risk to the wellbeing of residents, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

A group consisting of representatives from Wrexham council, Kronospan, Chirk Town Council and Natural Resources Wales will be set up to assess the air quality, with residents able to view the data online.

A spokeswoman for Kronospan said: "We are working with Wrexham council on independent air quality monitoring to reassure residents.

"We are developing plans for a new access road from the north and we have already sought formal pre-application advice from Wrexham council."

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