At the September public meeting, David Quick from Hanson Cement gave a presentation explaining the proposed changes to the site. This is a summary of what is happening:
A new modern mill will be installed - it is being decommissioned from a site in Bilbao, Spain. This will result in there being 5 operational mills. The new one and one other will operate 24-7. The other three will be out of use (mothballed) but will be available if needed, either because of maintenance or failure at this or other Hanson sites.
The new mill is more efficient (using 30% less electricity) and will increase the site capacity to enable it to mill all of the 'clinker' the kiln produces - the excess is currently shipped by road to other Hanson sites.
The overall capacity of the site is such that Hanson do not rule out them milling clinker from other sites, which could mean the use of the additional mill capacity and road traffic to bring in the clinker.
The plan is to upgrade the railhead which will enable loading of finished product onto trains for distribution across the UK - up to 30% of production. The rail link exists already and is used for coal deliveries currently but there is no loading facility currently. A new building will be erected from which cement can be loaded onto trains. During loading the train will move to enable each carriage to be filled. The trains will be diesel because the Borderline (Wrexham-Bidston) line is not electrified. The railhead connects to the mainline heading north, so all trains will leave the site to the north and if they are ultimately to be routed to the south, they will turn around at the Shotton turning point and head back past Penyffordd.
There are currently 96 employees at Hanson Cement Padeswood and 5 apprentices. That figure was below 50 employees during the 2008 recession. There are no new jobs associated with the proposal and the suggestion is that the expansion will protect jobs. If planning permission is not obtained, then the viability of the site will be reassessed by Hanson.
Appearance and Environment
The new buildings are all consistent in size and colour to existing buildings on the site. The trees planted
To make the changes to the site, Hanson need planning permission from Flintshire County Council. To operate the site, they need a permit from Natural Resources Wales.
Dust and Noise
We are reassured that the new mill will be contained within its own building and, because of the technology used, will be quieter than the existing mills. The materials are moved around the site under negative pressure to reduce the emission of dust and that includes while loading at the new railhead. There is an additional stack which will vent air from the mill via a filter. This vent would be monitored by Natural Resources Wales as part of the permit. The train is a potential new source of noise, with 3 trains a week expected - the time of day of the train operations is unknown.
Monitoring and Health
The only monitoring currently undertaken is at the bowling green in Penyffordd and is done voluntarily by Hanson since the planning conditions from the Kiln 4 installation have now lapsed. We are aware of a number of emissions issues which have been reported to Natural Resources Wales or to Hanson directly and they have been followed up by NRW.
There were residents who attended Septembers' public meeting who were expressing specific concerns about the openness of Hanson on health issues - Hanson have extended an invitation to those individuals, or anyone else with concerns, to visit the site and discuss their concerns in detail.
Comment on the Application
You can comment via Flintshire County Council planning portal at Flintshire.gov.uk or directly to Hanson Cement. The planning application number is 57343.