War munitions factory in North Wales will be marked today with a ceremony attended by rural affairs minister Alun Michael.
Mr Michael will also unveil a commemorative plaque to the people who
The former Ministry of Defence plant closed as a mustard gas and
munitions factory soon after the war. In the 1960s the site was used
as a MAFF depot. Twenty years later the 35- hectare site, now managed
by Defra, closed completely.
Mr Michael will be joined by local councillor Diane Johnson,
chairman of the local reclamation group, along with Delyn MP David
Hanson, to start another chapter in the site's history by making it
accessible to conservation and local history groups.
Defra has worked with the Environment Agency Wales and Flintshire
CC on a range of improvements and measures.
The work involved demolishing some buildings, landscaping and
clearing up areas close to Rhydymwyn village.
Other work included capping polluted pits, bolstering boundary fences
and continuing the programme of monitoring ground water supplies
originating on the site.
There is public interest in making the site accessible and Defra will
provide information and escorted visits by arrangement. An exhibition
with old pictures of people working at the site and information on
the history of the factory, will also be on display for the first
The site, which has been largely undisturbed for many years, has
become a haven for wildlife. Bats use the disused buildings as
feeding areas and an extensive variety of plants and animals has
become established there.
Mr Michael said efforts to make Valley Factory safe was a good
example of how communities, local authorities and environmental
organisations can work together.
'The Valley Factory's history as a former munitions si te has made it
a source of understandable curiosity, not to say mystery. People have
asked: what did go on in the past here?
'The new exhibition and our plans to open the site to history and
environmental groups will hopefully go some way to explain what
really went on and is a tribute to all those who worked there.
'The remedial work which has been carried out is an important step in
continuing to ensure the site can play a valuable role in the
community now and in the future.'
Linking risk management with environmental needs has led to Defra
agreeing a minimum intervention strategy on the site with the
Environment Agency Wales and Flintshire CC.
It includes: (i) Demolition and landscaping works adjacent to
Rhydymwyn village. (ii) Capping of the few designated toxic pits.
(iii) Ground water monitoring would continue. (iv) Boundary fences
would remain to assist natural regeneration and prevent dumping. (v)
security guards would remain to control access to the site for
environmental and historical interest groups.