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Monday, 4 March, 2002, 12:57 GMT
D-day for future of cement plant
Castle Cement
Castle Cement say the plans will secure the sites future
Welsh Assembly Members are meeting in secret to decide whether or not to give plans for a controversial new cement kiln in north Wales the go-ahead.

Castle Cement in Padeswood have said the factory could close with the loss of 200 jobs if the 48m facility is rejected.

General Manager Castle Cement Tony Allen
Tony Allen says the investment is vital

AMs began discussing the findings of a public inquiry into the proposals on Monday, which include plans to burn a controversial fuel made from chemical waste.

However, even if the development was approved, separate consent from the Environment Agency would still be required.

Plans for the new kiln - which would burn Cemfuel - have been in the hands of the authorities for nearly three years.

The application for the development was first put forward in 1999 and initially approved by Flintshire County Council in February 2000.

But within weeks, the plans were called in by the assembly following opposition on environmental grounds.

A public inquiry was then launched which ended more than a year ago.

Harmful Emissions

The company has argued that the investment is vital to modernise the outdated plant.

Castle Cement General Manager Tony Allen said: "We want to spend 48m to make things better, environmental improvements.

"The air quality strategy of 2005 - the current plant will really struggle to meet it but the new plant won't, it will meet it easily."

But the new kiln is designed to run on Cemfuel, a controversial concoction of waste solvents and chemicals.

Opponents say emissions from it could be harmful.

If planning permission is granted, Castle Cement would also need approval from the Environment Agency.

That ruling would not be due until later this year.

BBC Wales's Roger Pinney reports
"Castle Cement say the new kiln would be more efficient"

More news from north east Wales
See also:

30 Nov 99 | Wales
'Rubbish' kiln provokes protest
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