ALMOST 500 complaints have been made about environmental issues at a wood panel manufacturing factory in the last eight years.

Residents in Chirk have raised a large number of concerns about the Kronospan facility on Holyhead Road, part of which was ravaged by fire in July.

Freedom of Information figures show that a total of 473 complaints have been made to Wrexham Council’s environment department since 2010.

The majority (267) relate to dust emissions from the factory, followed by 108 about the smell, 96 over noise and two regarding light issues.

The number of complaints peaked in 2016 when 110 complaints were made amid concerns about dust and odour, and there have already been 91 so far this year.

Chirk south councillor Terry Evans described the factory as a ‘beast’ and claims it should never have been built.

He said: “The figures sound high but they’re not as high as they could be.

“The majority of people in Chirk have given up on complaining now.

“They feel it’s a waste of time and I do agree with them.

“Kronospan are self regulating which we’re completely against as you don’t get the true facts about the dust, the smell and the noise, which are the main factors.

“The dust over the last two years has been horrendous and the noise has increased with every new application and every piece of equipment they put in.

“The factory is a beast, it shouldn’t have been built there, but it’s here.”

The figures were released in the same week as Kronospan applied to vary its environmental permit, meaning it would be regulated by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) instead of Wrexham Council in future.

NRW said it wants to make sure the factory is regulated in a way that will deliver environmental improvements and has launched a consultation with villagers.

The application covers wood processing and log yard activities, manufacturing MDF and strand board, operating biomass boilers, and a new proposal for an oriented strand board production line.

Lyndsey Rawlinson, North East Wales manager for NRW, said: “We only issue an environmental permit to a company if we are completely satisfied its detailed plans make it clear that it can operate safely, without harming the environment or local communities.

“As part of this process we are now consulting with local people and relevant organisations.

“All relevant information raised during the consultation will be considered before we come to a decision.”

A drop-in session is being held at the Chirk Parish Hall council chamber on Wednesday, September 19, from 2pm-8pm so people can learn more about the application and give their views.

You can also e-mail for a copy of the application.

The closing date for the consultation is October 19.

Kronospan has been contacted for a comment.