Welsh Gov calls for cash from Westminster to keep Wales’ coal tips safe
The Welsh Government is calling for Westminster to hand over cash to keep Wales’ coal tips safe.
Welsh Finance and Local Government Minister Rebecca Evans has said the UK Government “legal and moral responsibility” to step up because it is a pre-devolution issue.
She says that it should use this autumn’s Spending Review to share responsibility and allocate long-term funding.
It has been estimated that at least £500m to £600m will be needed over the next 10 to 15 years.
Evans argues that as the climate changes, Wales’ coal spoil tips need attention and long-term funding to prevent the risk of future landslips.
Based on information from the Coal Authority, the Welsh Government has estimated that more than 40 per cent of all the UK’s coal tips are located in Wales and around one in seven of these are classed as high risk.
Finance and Local Government Minister Rebecca Evans will call on the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak to share responsibility and allocate funding to deal with the pre-devolution legacy of coal mining in Wales.
The UK government said it had provided funding in the wake of the storms, and a spokesperson told the BBC that management of the tips was a devolved matter, and the Welsh Government was “more than adequately funded” to meet its responsibilities.
Rebecca Evans said: “Wales is disproportionately affected by the legacy of coal mining, and climate impacts are increasing the risks disused coal tips pose to our communities.
“As a pre-devolution issue, we need the UK Government to share responsibility and prevent another landslip from happening.
“As rainfall intensifies and temperatures rise, the risk to life and livelihoods is increasing unpredictably.
“The UK Government has a legal and moral responsibility to work with the Welsh Government to address this issue and fund these long-term costs.
“There is an opportunity for us to work together in the coming years to tackle the climate and nature crisis we face and this year’s Spending Review is the chance to find that common ground and to leave a positive, fairer and lasting legacy for former mining areas in Wales.”
The Spending Review will set the amount of funding available to the Welsh Government for the next three years to 2024-25.
The Finance Minister will also be asking the UK Government to use the opportunity to invest in Wales by addressing historic underfunding in rail infrastructure and research and development.
She also wants the UK Government to review its decision to withhold £375m of annual EU structural funding which is currently used to support programmes including employability, skills and apprenticeships, replace EU farm funding in full and fund ongoing operations at border ports following our exit from the EU.