Welsh Government accused of ‘hypocrisy’ over lack of action on coal tip which later slipped
The Welsh Government have been accused of “hypocrisy” for not acting sooner on a coal tip that later slipped.
Campaigners for clearing coal tips in the south of Wales pointed to a 2014 document that noted that the coal tip at Taylorstown had “stability issues” but noted that there was “no funding” available for a reclamation scheme.
The document by Rhondda Cynon Taf Council notes that “the Welsh Government has traditionally funded reclamation at 100%”. ut in this case the Welsh Government had “informed the council that it is unlikely to fund future reclamation work unless there is a ‘business case’ for it”.
“The focus of the business case being on economic outputs such as bringing forward development land.”
The document adds that “this leaves the other sites, some of which have historical stability issues, without potential funding and an increased future liability for the Council”.
It lists among these the “Tylorstown and Llanwonno Tips”. In its response to a coal slip following Storm Dennis in 2020, Rhondda Cynon Taf Council identified the tip that slipped as the Llanwonno Tip.
The Welsh Conservatives said that the document showed that the Welsh Government’s “hypocrisy” was “staggering”.
“It appears the Labour Government in Cardiff Bay have put profit over safeguarding communities, which flies directly in the face of the recent rhetoric we’ve heard from ministers,” Tory MS Janet Finch-Saunders said.
“Labour have been in power for two decades and had ample opportunities to protect people and communities by making these coal tips safe, but as ever, they’ve chosen not to act, instead they’ve opted to blame others.
“It’s Labour’s responsibility to fix these tips – no ifs, no buts – and there can be no more excuses as lives are potentially at stake.”
This is hugely concerning. If risk was known, why was no action taken? https://t.co/alHinmDIJv
— Heledd Fychan AS/ MS (@Heledd_Plaid) January 7, 2022
Data released by the Welsh Government in October identified over 300 tips in the highest risk category across the country and estimated it will take up to 15 years and cost between £500 – £600 million to make them safe.
At the time, the Welsh Government asked the UK Government for financial support to clear the coal tips, saying that they were a problem created before devolution.
“It is indefensible that the UK Government has refused to work with us and provide funding to support the long-term remediation and repurposing of coal tips in Wales,” Minister for Finance and Local Government, Rebecca Evans MS, said at the time.
“These tips are a legacy of the UK’s industrial past. The need for work to address this impact of disruptive climate change was unknown, and provision was not made when Wales’ funding arrangements were agreed in 1999.
“The UK Government had an opportunity to show it is would stand behind the communities whose efforts created huge wealth for the UK, instead it has chosen to turn its back on them.”
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