What is being done for the safety of the coal dumps and how will the work be financed?
Posted on 09/27/2021 | Last update 27/09/2021 |
Coal dumps, a heap of rubbish removed from the ground during coal mining, are a legacy of Wales’ mining past. The majority of tips in Wales are now disused and present a number of risks, including landslides, floods, pollution and spontaneous combustion.
Increased intensity of winter precipitation and flash floods result of climate change, bring increased risk of tip instability.
The coal landfill law dates back to when there was an active coal industry and is considered inadequate for the management of disused landfills.
Ahead of Welsh government debate on coal landfill safety on Tuesday, this article examines the ongoing coal landfill policy, legislative reform and action in Wales, and how it could be funded.
Extreme weather conditions trigger action
February 2020 was wettest ever. As good as floods, Wales has experienced several landslides, including a landslide at Llanwonno coal Trick, in Tylorstown in the Rhondda Valley.
A month later, in response, a British and Welsh government Coal advice A security working group has been created to identify and assess the risk of coal landfills, and the Coal Authority has been ordered to perform inspections. The Coal Authority worked with local authorities, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) to develop a detailed picture of the coal landfill landscape across Wales. The majority of coal landfills are privately owned, while others are managed by local authorities, the NRW and the Coal Authority.
The 2,144 charcoal tips identified received two ratings – one classifying the inherent risk and one classifying the risk to people, property or critical infrastructure. Almost 300 of those were classified as high risk. Local authorities have been tasked with carrying out the necessary works identified by inspections, together with the Coal Authority and all private landowners, to safeguard the structural integrity of landfills in their areas. The Welsh government said so provided funding for this maintenance program.
He also says the technology is being tested for monitor high-risk coal landfills and provide early warning of any movement.
The working group reviewed current legislation
The joint working group sought to ‘assess the immediate state of coal landfills in Wales and review the existing policy and legislative framework relating to the management of disused coal landfills’. He found that the legislation was âneither robust enough nor suitable for useâBecause it does not require regular inspections of disused tips.
The stream Mines and Quarries (Tips) Act 1969 was promulgated following the Aberfan disaster in 1966, when there was an active coal industry and disused landfills were not seen as a significant problem.
The Law Commission has been invited to launch a coal landfill regulation project and make recommendations for a future bill. His website establishes the relationship between its work and that of the working group by saying:
The Task Force’s agenda is to address immediate safety concerns and develop a new long-term policy approach to the legacy of the disused coal dumps. The Law Commission project will complement this work.
He has consulted on a proposal for a new safety regime for coal landfills, which proposes the creation of a new regulatory framework which:
â¦ Promote consistency in the management of coal landfills across the country and avoid danger by introducing a proactive rather than a reactive approach
A final report with recommendations to the Welsh government is should be published early 2022.
Using the UK Government Spending Review to Address Coal Landfill Safety in Wales
The Chancellor of the Exchequer has announcement a UK government spending review to be completed on October 27 along with an autumn budget. The review will outline the funding available to the Welsh government for the next three years until 2024-25.
Welsh politicians have argues that, given that the coal landfills are a legacy of the country’s industrial history that precedes decentralization, the UK government would have to bear the costs of longer term works to secure the coal landfills.
Former Minister of Finance and Trefnydd Recount the Fifth Senedd Finance Committee that:
â¦ The old coal landfill problems we face here in Wales, which could cost, over a period of 10 years, around Â£ 0.5bn, so major funding will be needed.
The Welsh government noted that the expenditure review provides the UK government with an opportunity to support collective efforts to provide net zero carbon and fight against climatic and natural emergencies. In this context, he calls on the British government to:
â¦ Work urgently with us to develop a formal strategy and funding program for the long-term remediation, reclamation and reallocation of coal landfills to manage climate impacts and address climate concerns. public security.
The Senedd goes debate using the UK government’s spending review to address coal landfill safety in Wales on Tuesday 28 September.
Members of the public can report any concerns about coal dumps or obtain safety advice from the Coal Authority hotline on 0800 021 9230 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article by Lorna Scurlock and Owen Holzinger, Senedd Research, Welsh Parliament