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MINISTER MARKS£2.5M RENOVATION PROJECT AT FORMER MUNITIONS FACTORY

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The completion of a£2.5m project which has renovated a Second World ...
The completion of a £2.5m project which has renovated a Second World

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

worked at the Valley Factory, at Rhydymwyn, near Mold, Flintshire.

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

time.

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.'

Note

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.

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