CAMBRIAN QUARRY RESTORATION TAKING SHAPE
Work on filling in a dangerous old Flintshire quarry is progressing with 150,000 tonnes of soil and building waste already delivered to the site in the first 12 months since the operation began.
Restoration work at the former Cambrian Quarry, Gwernymynydd is expected to take up to a further nine years.
A year into the long-term project, John Dennan, a director of ASH Resources Management Cambrian Quarry Ltd, together with the company’s environmental manager, Steve Rymill, have met with community leaders to outline the progress made so far.
Gwernymynydd and Nercwys Ward county councillor Nancy Matthews, Vicky Hindstridge, who chairs Gwernymynydd and Cadole Community Council, and community councillor Kevin Hughes were given a behind-the-scenes tour of the quarry and the on-going work.
John Dennan told the councillors the task of filling in the quarry is a mammoth one but progress has been excellent and the project was on schedule.
He said: “After a year the quarry is now between 12 and 15% full. We have delivered around 150,000 tonnes of inert building waste to the site.
“The waste comes from a wide geographical area but everything is tested by both the construction companies producing the building waste and ourselves before it is put into the disused quarry.
“We test for chemicals and anything else that could damage the environment within or around the quarry. And almost all the waste material delivered to the site is transported by our own wagons.”
He added: “So far we haven’t had to bring in a crushing machine to deal with rock and hardcore waste. We are finding that developers are reusing and recycling hardcore waste at its original site.
“We will at some point need to bring in a crushing machine but that could be a couple of years down the line.
“It’s important to us the environment is protected whilst this work goes on and we are continually monitoring the bat and any newt population to ensure they are not disturbed.
“We want to keep the local community informed at all times of the progress we are making and work with them to ensure the quarry is filled in and eventually landscaped to benefit future generations.”
ASH environmental manager, Steve Rymill, said: “There is no doubt work to infill the quarry needed doing. We have to be exceptionally careful as the rock walls on one side of the quarry are crumbling and we are seeing frequent rock falls.
“It’s happening more in winter as water freezes in the rock fissures and when it expands and melts it causes more rock to fall. It really is quite a dangerous place and I’d encourage parents to make sure their children stay well away from the quarry at all times.
“One issue we are acutely aware of is wagons depositing soil debris on the main Ruthin Road trunk road, the A494, through the village.
“Before work started we installed a wagon wheel washing facility and all wagons leaving the site have to have their wheels and the vehicles underside cleaned.
“While this system is working reasonably well we realise we have to do more. We have a road cleaning machine on site that goes out and cleans the road throughout the day.”
He added: “However, to help us address the problem further we are now installing a second wagon wheel wash system.
“Basically wagons will drive through a wheel bath before going through the high pressure wheel jet wash. Hopefully this will help us ensure the A494 remains dirt and soil free. We are doing all we can to work with the local community.”
Gwernymynydd and Cadole Community Council chair, Vicky Hinstridge says she is impressed with the work being done at the former Cambrian Quarry.
She said: “I never realised just how big the quarry was and the huge task being undertaken to fill the quarry in. It’s clearly managed very well and I’m very impressed with the work that’s been done.
“The quarry walls are crumbling and it’s clear the whole site was a danger. Once filled and landscaped it will be a fantastic community asset and it’s certainly something to look forward to.”
She added: “I have suggested to John Dennan we look toward having a community open day in the summer so Gwernymynydd and Cadole residents can come and see for themselves just what is being done.”
County Councillor Nancy Matthews said: “The quarry walls are unstable and there is no doubt in my mind that the quarry needed to be filled in.
“I’m pleased with the way ASH has been prepared to listen and respond to any issues raised by the community and quickly take any action that has been required to remedy any issues raised.”
Community councillor Kevin Hughes said: “We have had residents pointing out that Ruthin Road is sometimes dirty but I have to say ASH is clearly doing all they can to improve their wagon wheel washing procedures.
“Filling in Cambrian Quarry is going to take a long time, around a further nine years, but it will be worth it in the end.
“I can see the inherent dangers from the crumbling quarry walls and there is no doubt we, as a community, needed to see this quarry filled in and the site returned to its former glory.”