First Minister Mark Drakeford calls first mines safety summit following Skewen coal mine burst
First Minister Mark Drakeford convened a mines safety summit yesterday to address the safety and the environmental impacts of Wales’ disused coal mines, after a mine shaft burst in Skewen and caused catastrophic flooding last month.
The summit brought together Secretary of State Simon Hart, Welsh Government and UK Government representatives, Neath Port Talbot Leader Rob Jones, as well as Rhondda Cynon Taf Leader Andrew Morgan, fire and rescue and emergency services, the Coal Authority and Natural Resources Wales.
The First Minister called for Skewen residents to be at the heart of all immediate work, while suggesting a ten-year finance plan to make mine safety a reality across the country, with a look to factor in climate change into any works needed.
First Minister Mark Drakeford yesterday said:
Coal from Wales’ hillsides fuelled the industrial revolution, catapulting us into the modern world we know today. It is only right that our communities who gave so much, live safely and are not financially hit by the negative legacy of coal mining.
I wanted to convene today’s summit to discuss the risks to public safety and to agree, amongst other things, liability, the recovery process, the importance of engaging the affected community and the wider connections with the wider coal tip safety agenda. While there are some complexities to iron-out, the meeting was positive and productive, and we all agreed on the importance of putting the residents of Skewen at the heart of our plans.
I was heartened to hear the Coal Authority and UK Government agree the significance of this, as well as the expertise and collaborative spirit of the emergency services, local authorities and Natural Resources Wales.
Skewen was a wake-up call to us all. Homes were flooded at a rapid speed, and the impact of this has shocked the community.
We know that climate change will increase rainfall, and therefore poses an added risk to events like these happening again. We need a ten-year plan to finance work to secure all mines across the country, with climate change needing to be factored into any work going forward.
We will work with all parties to make the safety of coal, metal and other mines, as well as coal tips- priority, and find the right path forward on an issue that far predates devolution.
Yesterday marked one year on from the Tylorstown landslide in Rhondda Cynon Taff, which was brought on following heavy rainfall and floods in February 2020. Since then, three coal tips summits have been convened and mapping of coal tips across Wales carried out, inspections and maintenance works are on-going.
Latest News from
A Budget to protect public services and boost Wales’ economy03/03/2021 14:05:00
Finance Minister Rebecca Evans has unveiled a Final Budget with plans to protect public services and the Welsh economy, providing timely support to protect lives and livelihoods in the months ahead.
Transport Minister rallies north Wales community against plans to weaken rail services03/03/2021 11:05:00
Minister for Economy, Transport and North Wales Ken Skates has called on community leaders in north Wales to rally support in opposing plans which, if selected, would be detrimental to the region’s rail commuter experience and cross border connectivity.
Wales aims to become world number one recycler as it announces Circular Economy strategy03/03/2021 09:05:00
Welsh Government yesterday published an ambitious strategy to support a green recovery in Wales by transitioning into a ‘circular economy’, as we deal with the triple challenge of the pandemic, climate change and Brexit.
Ban on smoking on hospital grounds comes into force in Wales02/03/2021 16:05:00
Smoke-free legislation making it illegal to smoke on hospital grounds came into force in Wales yesterday (1 March).
£50 million extra for school improvements02/03/2021 14:05:00
The Welsh Government yesterday announced an additional £50m towards improvements to school buildings across Wales.
£680 million Covid cash boost for Wales02/03/2021 12:33:00
Wales’ public services will receive a cash boost of more than £682 million to support their COVID efforts over the coming months, the First Minister yesterday announced.
Ireland and Wales launch Shared Statement and Joint Action Plan 2021 to 2025, 1 March 202102/03/2021 11:05:00
Shared Statement and Joint Action Plan 2021 to 2025 sets out the ambition and plans for the Ireland – Wales relationship in years ahead.
Welsh Government backs business in new campaign02/03/2021 09:05:00
Welsh Government yesterday launched a new campaign to promote the important support available to businesses to help them deal with the continued pressures of coronavirus and plan for a brighter future.
UK Budget must take crucial steps to help recovery01/03/2021 16:38:00
The Welsh Government is urging the UK Government to take the necessary steps to begin recovery and secure prosperity across all parts of the UK.