The UK Government should use this autumn’s Spending Review to share responsibility and allocate long-term funding to make Wales’ coal tips safe, Finance and Local Government Minister Rebecca Evans has said.
As our climate changes, Wales’ coal spoil tips need attention and long-term funding to prevent the risk of future landslips.
Based on information from the Coal Authority, the Welsh Government has estimated that more than 40 per cent of all the UK’s coal tips are located in Wales and around one in seven of these are classed as high risk.
Finance and Local Government Minister Rebecca Evans will call on the Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak to share responsibility and allocate funding to deal with the pre-devolution legacy of coal mining in Wales.
It is estimated at least £500m to £600m will be needed over the next 10 to 15 years.
The Minister said:
“Wales is disproportionately affected by the legacy of coal mining, and climate impacts are increasing the risks disused coal tips pose to our communities. As a pre-devolution issue, we need the UK Government to share responsibility and prevent another landslip from happening.
“As rainfall intensifies and temperatures rise, the risk to life and livelihoods is increasing unpredictably.
“The UK Government has a legal and moral responsibility to work with the Welsh Government to address this issue and fund these long-term costs.
“There is an opportunity for us to work together in the coming years to tackle the climate and nature crisis we face and this year’s Spending Review is the chance to find that common ground and to leave a positive, fairer and lasting legacy for former mining areas in Wales.”
The Spending Review will set the amount of funding available to the Welsh Government for the next three years to 2024-25.
In response a UK government spokesperson said:
“In December 2020, to help with the unforeseen impact of Storm Dennis, we provided £31m of additional funding to the Welsh government, of which £9m was to repair vulnerable coal tips. Ultimately, however, the management of coal tips in Wales is a devolved matter and therefore not one the UK Government would expect to provide additional funding for.
“The Welsh Government is more than adequately funded to manage the costs of devolved responsibilities. Their 2021-22 spending review settlement provides around £123 per person for every £100 of equivalent funding in England. This is around £1 billion more than the agreed level of fair funding for Wales relative to England as set out in the fiscal framework.”