FORWARD Wales councillor for Johnstown, Dave Bithell, has joined the fight to prevent waste from Merseyside being imported to the proposed Hafod landfill site.

Cllr Bithell believes a plan put forward by Mersey Waste is an outdated way to deal with waste problems and he is calling for the public inquiry due to be held on July 20-22 to turn down the company's plans.

He said: 'Forward Wales has launched a campaign to fight these proposals for landfill in Hafod. We will work with both the Hafod Environmental Group and Hafod Action Group to stop the planning application.

'In an age of recycling, the council needs a long-term strategy and landfill sites should be phased out.

'We have environmental, health and traffic problems with this site and there are two local schools nearby. We must press for a better use and I can think of no better use than as a country park with facilities for both the Ruabon and Johnstown communities to share.' Mersey Waste has submitted two applications to vary conditions to the original consent so it can import waste from Merseyside.

Wrexham Council refused the original application but, due to a loophole in planning law, Mersey Waste has now submitted an identical application which will be the subject of the public inquiry.

Hafod Environmental Group, with representatives from Johnstown, Rhos, Ruabon, Esclusham and Erbistock, was set up to oppose the landfill plan and they are campaigning to have a country park on the site of the former Hafod Quarry.

Group member Pauline Smout said: 'We hired a planning consultancy company to investigate the case and speak on our behalf at the planning meeting. The costs involved were several thousand pounds. The group needs funding to be able to present a good case at the public inquiry, the experts we need are very expensive.

'Instead of accepting the prospect of 30 years of rubbish, we have put forward an alternative plan for a nature reserve and country park, with lakes, pleasant walks and an adventure playground. We have raised a lot of money but the costs involved are huge so we've had to put the country park plans on hold for the moment. But we are confident we can win the fight and then concentrate fully on the country park application.

'No longer are residents of this area prepared to accept the ravages of industry but intend to ensure that future generations benefit from a legacy of a healthy and pleasant environment.'

Members of the group are continuing with their fundraising drive and have organised various coffee mornings and a duck race to be held at Nant Mill on Sunday, July 4. Anyone who would like to contact Hafod Environmental Group can ring Chris Jarvis on 01978 841966 or Pauline Smout on 01978 810275, or visit the new website at