Coal Tips: Welsh Government Identifies 350 Higher Risk Sites, 600 Households Notified, UK

Date:

Updated: 5:35 AM, Wed November 15, 2023

Welsh Government Identifies 350 Higher Risk Coal Tips, Notifies 600 Households

Concerns over the safety of coal tips in Wales have resurfaced after a 60,000-tonne landslide at a disused site in Rhondda Cynon Taf last year. In response, the Welsh government has published the locations of 350 higher risk coal tip sites and has made £44m available for safety work. Approximately 600 households living in close proximity to these tips will receive letters informing them of the potential risk.

To address the issue, a new specialist team, including engineer Beth Jones, has been established to prevent future disasters. The team aims to minimize the risk of landslides caused by coal tips. Beth, who grew up in Aberdare, understands the impact of these tips firsthand and is determined to protect her community.

The scale of the challenge is significant, with many disused tips still present in south Wales. Rhondda Cynon Taf council, in particular, has almost twice the amount of the highest risk Category D tips compared to other areas. Although the tips do not pose an immediate risk of sliding, the consequences would be severe if they did, as they are located near homes, schools, and hospitals. Engineers like Beth are working diligently to monitor the tips using innovative techniques such as creating 3D maps, installing motion detecting sensors, and utilizing remote cameras for drainage monitoring.

The team’s inspections focus on identifying potential water-related issues, as water is often the trigger for landslides. They also look for cracks, bulging, and changes in vegetation during their regular assessments. While minor incidents may not pose an immediate risk, the team remains vigilant, considering the lessons learned from the tragic Aberfan disaster in 1966. This disaster claimed the lives of 116 children and 28 adults when a colliery spoil tip collapsed in Aberfan village.

Wales holds approximately 40% of the UK’s disused coal tips, and until the 2020 landslide, there was no national database to monitor them. Recognizing the urgent need for action, the Welsh government has requested financial assistance from Westminster to ensure long-term safety. It is estimated that £600 million will be required over the next 10 to 15 years to protect the tips from the increasing threat of climate change.

Jacqueline Mynott, who leads the Coal Tip Safety Team at Rhondda Cynon Taf council, highlights the prioritization of work to safeguard communities. However, complications arise from the fact that many of the 340 coal tips in the area are privately owned. Some individuals were unaware of their ownership until approached, often due to inheriting the land following a family member’s death. The Welsh government has allocated £44m to fund the necessary safety work, even for privately owned tips.

Wales’ Climate Change Minister, Julie James, acknowledges the monumental task of categorizing and documenting all disused coal tips in a central database for the first time. The government aims to ensure the safety of communities and protect them from potential landslides caused by the changing climate.

The identification and notification of higher risk coal tips in Wales demonstrate the government’s commitment to prevent future disasters and prioritize the safety of its citizens. By addressing the challenges associated with these disused tips, Wales takes significant steps towards safeguarding its communities and ensuring a more secure future.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) Related to the Above News

What prompted the Welsh government to identify higher risk coal tip sites?

The identification of higher risk coal tip sites was prompted after a landslide occurred at a disused site in Rhondda Cynon Taf during storms in 2020, raising concerns about the threat from coal tips in Wales.

How many higher risk coal tip sites have been identified by the Welsh government?

The Welsh government has identified 350 higher risk coal tip sites.

How many households have been notified about the higher risk coal tip sites?

Around 600 households located in the areas of the higher risk coal tip sites have been notified.

How much funding has the Welsh government allocated for safety work related to coal tips?

The Welsh government has allocated £44 million for safety work related to coal tips.

What measures are engineers taking to ensure the safety of coal tips?

Engineers are developing 3D maps, monitoring any changes, installing motion detecting sensors, utilizing remote cameras to track drainage, conducting monthly inspections, and focusing on drainage systems to ensure water flows away from the tips and down the valley.

Why is it important to minimize the risk of future accidents related to coal tips?

It is important to minimize the risk of future accidents to prevent potential harm to communities living near coal tip sites, as demonstrated by past disasters such as the Aberfan tragedy in which many lives were lost.

What percentage of the UK's disused coal tips are located in Wales?

It is estimated that 40% of the UK's disused coal tips are located in Wales.

Has there been a national database for coal tips in Wales prior to this recent initiative?

No, there was no national database for coal tips in Wales until after the Tylorstown landslide incident.

How much financial assistance does the Welsh government estimate is needed to safeguard coal tips from climate change impacts?

The Welsh government estimates a requirement of £600 million over the next 10 to 15 years to safeguard coal tips from climate change impacts.

What complications arise in ensuring the safety of privately owned coal tips?

Complications arise in ensuring the safety of privately owned coal tips, as their ownership may not always be known, sometimes only being discovered after the death of a family member.

Why is protecting coal tips from climate change impacts particularly important in south Wales?

Increased rainfall in the south Wales coalfields since the 1960s, as indicated by research following the Tylorstown landslide, has highlighted the need to protect coal tips from climate change impacts in this region.

What is the objective of the Welsh government in identifying higher risk coal tip sites and notifying households?

The objective of the Welsh government is to prevent potential disasters by mitigating risks and protecting communities through the identification of higher risk coal tip sites and the notification of households in these areas.

Please note that the FAQs provided on this page are based on the news article published. While we strive to provide accurate and up-to-date information, it is always recommended to consult relevant authorities or professionals before making any decisions or taking action based on the FAQs or the news article.

Emily Johnson
Emily Johnson
Emily Johnson is a seasoned journalist and an expert in the field of UK news. With a keen eye for detail and a passion for delivering accurate and timely information, she is responsible for managing the UK news section at The Reportify. Emily's commitment to journalistic integrity ensures that readers receive comprehensive coverage of the latest happenings in the United Kingdom. Her in-depth research and ability to convey complex stories in a clear and engaging manner make her a trusted source of news for our readers. Stay informed with Emily Johnson's insightful articles and stay connected to the pulse of the UK news landscape She can be reached at emily@thereportify.com for any inquiries or further information.

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