THE Rhondda Member of the Senedd, Leanne Wood is calling on the UK Government to foot the bill for making safe coal tips.
Leanne Wood made the calls after receiving a joint letter from the Labour First Minister of Wales and the Tory Secretary of State for Wales about the future for coal tips following slippages earlier this year.
In February, heavy rains caused a number of coal tips to slip, with the one in Tylorstown being the most severe. It is yet to be cleared up.
The correspondence from both governments says that a taskforce has been established to review the oversight of coal tip safety and that the UK Government will foot the bill for urgent works. Ms Wood said this does not go far enough however.
“While I welcome the UK Government picking up the tab in the short term” said Ms Wood, “they must extend this offer to cover all future costs.
“These tips are a legacy of our coal industry when the overwhelming majority of wealth was extracted from the Rhondda and indeed Wales. The UK Government profited greatly from coal mined in the Rhondda and other coalfield communities in Wales. This coal was mined at a great cost to human life and health. Very few of our communities were left untouched by disasters linked to the coal industry.
“It is only fair that the total bill is met by the UK Government for making right this by-product of the coal industry.
“In order to future proof these coal tips from the kind of extreme weather we saw in February – which we are only likely to see more of in the future due to the climate crisis – it is likely that significant work is needed.
“This will be costly but it must be carried out in order to ensure public safety. The UK Government needs to 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.
“Anything less is unacceptable.”