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Coal Authority to create single database for safety of old coal tips in Wales

The aftermath of a landslide in Tylorstown during Storm Dennis

Information about coal tips around Wales will be put onto a single database to better manage their safety.

The Welsh Government said it is part of ongoing work to assess the safety of all tips, following landslides during severe weather in February.

The review, by the Coal Authority, will combine all existing data about coal tips in Wales to provide a single register and standardise coal tip safety ratings in a new system.

Residents raised concerns about the safety of old coal tips after a significant landslide in Tylorstown showed coal dramatically tumbling down the mountain following severe weather during Storm Dennis.

There are more than 1,200 tips across the former mining areas of south Wales with many abandoned over a century ago.

Some tips are publicly owned by councils while others are privately-owned and regulated by different organisations.

All local councils in Wales have provided their records, details of inspection regimes and details about their risk management processes. This information has been assessed by the Coal Authority and guidance is being developed to support the development of a consistent approach.

The Coal Authority has produced a central database of spoil tips across the former South Wales coalfield by using a combination of data, laser scanning, aerial photography and historical maps. It said the database will be published when the work is completed.

A helpline has also been set up for people to report any concerns about coal tips in their community.

The First Minister visited the site in Tylorstown following the landslide in February

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “At the meeting with the Secretary of State for Wales last month we agreed further work would be carried out to co-ordinate between all bodies which inspect coal tips – including the Coal Authority, Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and local councils.”

Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said: “We made a commitment to improve the management of Wales’ coal tips and the information available to the people who live near them.

“Good progress has been made on this vital work. The new helpline will mean anyone with safety concerns about the coal tips in their community can report them and get the information they need quickly and for free.”

The Coal Authority said it has also identified around 400 spoil sites on private land which will now be inspected.

The helpline number is 0800 021 9230.