What we are doing to identify any risks to public safety from coal tips.
In February 2020, the impact of climate change saw increased winter storms with extreme rainfall. This caused a landslip at a disused coal tip in Tylorstown, Rhondda Cynon Taf.
Coal tips are a legacy of Wales’ mining past. The Welsh Government is committed to ensuring our communities are safe.
In response to the Tylorstown landslide, the Welsh and UK Governments set up a joint Coal Tip Safety Taskforce. This was set up to assess the immediate status of disused coal tips in Wales.
Programme of work
The Welsh Government and its partners are delivering a programme of work. This includes inspection and maintenance of coal tips. It also includes developing new policy and legislation.
Disused coal tips are being given interim categories. The categories reflect which tips may need more frequent inspections. Higher-rated tips have a C or D category. These tips need more frequent inspections to assess drainage and stability.
Inspections and maintenance
A lot of work has taken place since February 2020 to know the status of each tip and to carry out maintenance.
The Coal Authority or relevant local authority are inspecting the higher-rated tips. Further inspections will take place on a regular basis. Regular inspections help to identify any signs of tip movement and any maintenance work needed.
Local authorities are carrying out maintenance work identified by the inspections. The Welsh Government has provided £44.4 million in capital funding for coal tip maintenance over the next three years.
Regular inspections of C and D rated tips are being undertaken by the Coal Authority and local authorities.
The Welsh Government is funding technology trials at suitable higher-rated coal tips. These aim to identify technologies that could contribute to the safe and effective management of disused tips.
The trials cover more than 70 sites in Wales. We will review the results of the trials as they are completed in 2022 and 2023.
What to do if you have concerns about tip safety
Coal tip data
Work is ongoing to gather information on coal tips across Wales. This includes information on the number, location, risk status and ownership of tips.
We published the following interim data on 26 October 2021:
|Neath Port Talbot||12||27||163||375||30||607|
|Rhondda Cynon Taf||23||52||95||89||44||303|
|Isle of Anglesey||2||6||8|
|Overall category total||71||256||678||1155||296||
A = Minor tip/restored tip; B = Unlikely to cause risk due to size or location;
C and D = higher potential risk. A higher rating does not mean a tip is
at imminent risk.
*R = Now removed or built over
1. Ceredigion, Conwy, Denbighshire, Gwynedd, Newport and The Vale of
Glamorgan have no recorded disused coal tips.
2. Figures are subject to change as a result of ongoing inspections and
following the development of a new categorisation system.
Policy and legislative reform
Coal tip safety is devolved to Wales. The law relating to coal tips is The Mines and Quarries (Tips) Act 1969. This dates from when there was an active coal industry. The legislation is not effective at managing the safety of disused coal tips in a holistic way. Reform is needed to reduce the risk of dangerous incidents occurring.
The Welsh Ministers asked the Law Commission to review current legislation on disused coal tips.
The review began in November 2020. It included a consultation from June to September 2021. The Law Commission published the results of the consultation and its recommendations in March 2022. The Welsh Government will publish its interim response to the Law Commission’s review in autumn 2022.
The Welsh Government published its proposals for a new regime on 11 May 2022 in the Coal Tip Safety (Wales) White Paper. The proposals build upon the Law Commission’s recommendations. The consultation closed on 4 August 2022 and we published a summary of the responses in November 2022.
Subject to Ministerial agreement, the Welsh Government will introduce a Bill on Coal Tip Safety in 2023.
Privacy notice for landowners
- Written Statement: Responses to the consultation for the Coal Tip Safety (Wales) White Paper
- Written Statement: Coal Tip Safety (Wales) White Paper
- Oral Statement: Coal Tip Safety
- New data shows true scale of coal tip challenge as First Minister makes fresh funding call (26 October 2021)
- Written Statement: Update on Coal Tip Safety (11 October 2021)
- Written Statement: Update on Coal Tip Safety (11 February 2021)
- First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford calls coal tip safety summit (23 December 2020)
- First Minister of Wales Mark Drakeford and Secretary of State Simon Hart chair Coal Tips Summit (5 August 2020)
- Secretary of State Simon Hart and First Minister Mark Drakeford chair meeting to discuss coal tip safety (25 February 2020)