Skewen residents call for 'justice' months on from devastating floods that forced many to flee their homes

Residents affected by flooding in Skewen, Neath Port Talbot, are campaigning for financial support to help those who were uninsured recover their losses.

The village was hit by serious flooding in late January after a burst mine shaft caused water to overflow and run out into the area.

Heavy rainfall from Storm Christoph was also linked to the heavy floods.

One family told ITV Wales in the immediate aftermath of the flooding that they were expecting it to take over a year for them to be able to return to their home.

Many residents are now concerned it could happen again.

Phil Thomas, a resident from the area, said he felt there was a lack of certainty and assurance that a similar event would not happen in future.

He said: "What's going to happen? What assurances are we getting that this couldn't happen again?

"We know for a fact that property prices have fallen and insurances have gone up.

"The coal board are trying to reassure us it's a one-off incident and so on, but what really sticks in the craw is the fact that they are not accepting liability as they call it: it's a joke."

The 'Justice for Skewen' campaign is now calling on the Coal Authority, which is responsible for maintaining the mine shafts, to cover all costs of residents who were uninsured at the time.

Aberavon MP Stephen Kinnock joined a protest on Thursday morning held by the Justice for Skewen campaign and said that residents would not rest until they had been given "justice" for what has happened to them.

He said: "Thousands of gallons of water and sludge coming up from a mine shaft and doing serious damage to people's houses in this area, and it is completely unacceptable that the coal authority and the UK Government are not taking responsibility for this.

"We will not rest - this campaign will not stop until we get justice for the residents of Skewen."

The Coal Authority, the body that manages mine shafts in the UK, said it was "confident" that it had taken the necessary steps to protect properties until it constructed a new water management system.

A spokesperson said: "January's flooding has had a significant impact on the community and our hearts go out to those affected.

"We are confident that the work we have undertaken alongside Neath Port Talbot Council and Natural Resources Wales will protect properties while we complete a new mine water management system by August. 

A vehicle sits submerged in water in Skewen after heavy flooding hit the village

"We have also been on site helping to complete the first phase of the clean-up and have offered residents like-for-like reinstatement of damaged gardens and outside areas, on a goodwill basis.

"We have based a member of staff in Skewen at 37 Goshen Park to help keep residents up to date with our progress on the ground, in addition to holding regular virtual meetings, issuing weekly email updates and setting up a dedicated 0800 2884 268 helpline.

"Our teams are focused on helping remaining families return to their homes as quickly as possible, working with Neath Port Talbot Council and other partner organisations."

Two days after the village was hit by flooding, First Minister Mark Drakeford visited the village to speak to residents and assess the damage.

The Welsh Government then announced that households affected would be eligible to receive between £500 and £1000 in financial support.

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