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Westminster should foot bill for making ‘high risk coal tips safe’, says Plaid Cymru MS

16 Feb 2021 3 minute read
Coal tip above Duffryn in the Afan valley. © Copyright Jeremy Bolwell (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Westminster should foot the bill for making high risk coal tips safe, according to a Plaid Cymru Member of the Senedd.

Leanne Wood, who represents the constituency of the Rhondda, said it was necessary to “deliver the peace of mind needed for people living in the shadow of coal tips.”

Almost 300 old coal tips in Wales have been classed as “high-risk” a year on from a 60,000 tonne landslip caused by Storm Dennis. The matter will now be discussed at a Welsh Government summit on mine safety.

Wales has more than 2,000 coal tips and of those, 294 are categorised as “high-risk”, which means they could endanger life or property.

The Plaid Cymru MS said the Westminster Government should provide “all the cash” to make sure are people are safe.

Ms Wood added that profits from coal mining were “not seen” in the Rhondda nor in “many other coalfield areas across Wales” and said the funding was more than “owed to us”.

‘Bitter legacy’ 

She said: “Coal tips are a bitter legacy of the coal industry. The Westminster Government must provide all the cash needed to ensure the safety of our people and deliver the peace of mind needed for people living in the shadow of coal tips.

“When the profits from coal mining were not seen in Rhondda, nor in many other coalfield areas across Wales, coupled with the high cost to health and lives of the workers and their families, that funding and more is owed to us.

“The final insult from all of this would be to burden people in Wales with the cost of making their communities safe and clean in light of the increased risk of flooding and other extreme weather because of climate change.

“Anything less than Westminster meeting the full cost of making safe high risk coal tips would be unacceptable.”

Janet Finch-Saunders, the Conservative Shadow Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, has said she is “concerned” about the report into coal tips in Wales

She said: “The damage wreaked by Storms Ciara, Dennis, and others at the start of 2020 devastated lives, homes, and businesses in Wales, especially communities in former mining areas where the effect on redundant coal tips must have caused great anxiety for residents.

“In a clear demonstration of the value of Wales in a strong United Kingdom, some £31 million was provided for flood damage remediation work to be carried out.

“The longer-term considerations and any remedial work for the coal tips n question will be a massive task, and one that only a strong Welsh Government working with the UK Government can fix.”

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