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Welsh Government must “be honest” about Coal Tip safety programme funding responsibilities

In a most pressing intervention in the Senedd Siambr over the funding of coal tip safety programmes in Wales , the Shadow Minister for Climate Change and Member of the Welsh Parliament for Aberconwy – Janet Finch-Saunders MS – has called on the Welsh Government to be “honest about its responsibilities and proactive in its protection of those at high risk.”

She used her speech to urge for the further roll-out of the real-time telemetric monitoring system trial which is currently taking place in locations such as the National Tip, Wattstown.


Commenting after her speech, Janet said:

“That it is taking catastrophes for us to realise that legislation is neither sufficiently robust nor fit for purpose is a point we should all reflect on. Our communities deserve a Welsh Government which is honest about its responsibilities and proactive in its protection of those at high risk. “Whilst the Welsh Government has protested its responsibilities to shift funding obligations, it is down to the Welsh Government to manage any long-term costs associated with ensuring the safety of Welsh coal tips. This fact is recognised in their own Programme of Government. “I recognise that the legacy of coal tip issues could cost in the region of £0.5 billion, over a period of 10 years. With the Welsh Government receiving around £1 billion more in 2021-22 than what was agreed as fair funding for Wales relative to England, Welsh Government Ministers can afford to take responsibility for this devolved matter. “With potential heavy rainfall set for Wales this winter, residents and businesses need assurances that measures are being taken promptly to safeguard them. Last Winter, the Coal Authority and local authorities inspected nearly 300 high risk tips, identifying maintenance works. Urgent clarity should be provided as to how many of the coal tips which required work to commence within six to twelve months has seen that target achieved.”

The UK Government continues to make available the expertise of the Coal Authority to support the work to ensure that tips are safe. In February 2020 a taskforce chaired by the Secretary of State for Wales and First Minister, was established to discuss and coordinate work.

ENDS

Photo: Janet Finch-Saunders MS/AS Video: A subtitled video of the speech is attached.

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