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UK Government urged to make former coal tip sites safe

08 May 2024 3 minute read
The aftermath of the Tylorstown landslide which happened during Storm Dennis in 2020

The UK Government is being urged to pay towards making hundreds of former coal tips safe – as nearby communities say they are “living in fear” of landslips.

Recent data (November 2023) reveals there are 350 unsafe coal tips across 14 Welsh local authorities areas, an increase of over 50 since 2021 due to the rapidly changing climate.

The information was collected by the Coal Tips Safety Taskforce, established after a landslip at a disused coal tip in Tylorstown, Rhondda Cynon Taf, in February 2020.

Plaid Cymru’s Delyth Jewell has said that coal tips are the legacy of the country’s industrial history which predates devolution, and causes anxiety for nearby communities.

In a motion to be debated in the Senedd today (Wednesday 8 May 2024), Plaid Cymru has called upon the Labour Welsh Government to introduce legislation to effectively monitor tips, ensure preventative work to avert danger and remedial work to reduce existing risks.

Coal tip. Tylorstown in February 2020. Credit: Rhondda Cynon Taf CBC

Plaid Cymru has also urged the UK Government to urgently provide funding for the inspection and maintenance regime and to bear the long-term costs of making coal tips and former industrial sites safe.

Plaid Cymru spokesperson for Climate Change, Delyth Jewell MS said: “People across Wales living near disused tips and open cast mines face a daily reminder of our exploited past.

“But these aren’t just relics of yesteryear: many present a real and growing danger to nearby communities, who live in fear that heavy rain could destabilise the tips, and cause them to slip.

“Welsh people deserve to feel safe in their homes and it is both astonishing and beyond all reason that Westminster still refuses to pay towards making these sites safe.

“Our coal made rich people in London richer, but all our communities were left with was the coal tips that litter our mountains: the gilts of dirt and dust.

“We in Plaid Cymru demand that Westminster must urgently pay towards making these tips and former industrial sites safe.”

A UK Government source said: “The management of coal tips in Wales is one of the Labour Welsh Government’s devolved responsibilities and one it is more than adequately funded to meet after receiving the largest funding settlement in the history of devolution of £18bn a year.

“The Labour Welsh Government now receives around £120 per person for every £100 per person of equivalent UK Government spending in England.

“If they feel this is not enough, we’d strongly recommend them to re-direct the estimated £120 million on creating more Senedd Members to coal tips.”

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14 days ago

“urged”?? They should be “made” to pay considering almost the whole of the UK benefitted from Welsh coal. Coal pit owners made an absolute fortune and the Treasury too. They jusy legged it out of here leaving the Welsh to clean up. It’s not on.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
14 days ago

The march of the pylon and turbine pole continues in the same tradition…

Watch out Ynys Mon, solar city is coming…

Last edited 14 days ago by Mab Meirion
Steve A Duggan
Steve A Duggan
13 days ago

The UK government – do the right thing? Don’t hold your breath, it’ll never happen. Take Take Take, it’s all it’s good at. There may be other ways to get it to cough up the money, but only as an independent nation. For instance, Cymru is an abundant power souce and water supplier to our neighbour. With climate change going to be an bigger issue in the very near future, we’ll have more bargaining power. It’s just a thought….

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