THERE are a number of disused coal tips in the Amman and Swansea valleys that are regularly inspected according to the Welsh Government.

The Welsh Government recently released data surrounding all the disused coal tips in Wales alongside an interactive map which shows the locations of the 350 which are more regularly inspected.

In the interactive map, one coal tip just outside Ammanford – at Foundry Road, Betws - has shown up and that is the category C tip. Another category C tip is the one at Cwmgarw Road, Upper Brynaman and there is one in Lower Brynaman. There is another at Pen y Graig Road, near Ystradowen and one at Bryn Road, Cwmllynfell.

There is also a category C tip at Wern Road, Ystalyfera and one at Ffordd Cwm Tawe, Ystalyfera and one by Gellyfowy Road, Ynysmeudwy.

There are also a number of category D tips which are located just outside Ystalyfera, one at Lower Cwmtwrch Recycling Centre and another just beside it, some that are listed as being at Graig Road, and one at Godre’r Graig Primary School.

The data was published by the Welsh Government after the coal tip safety taskforce was established in the wake of the 2020 landslide in Tylorstown.

The taskforce had a key objective to address the gap in information around disused coal tips, commissioning the Coal Authority to collect data relating to each of the disused coal tips across Wales.

South Wales Guardian: The blue section is the location of the Betws disused coal tip.The blue section is the location of the Betws disused coal tip. (Image: Welsh Government)

In October 2021, the Welsh Government published a breakdown of tips by local authority area and the classification of sites that need frequent inspections were labelled as C and D. The C and D coal tips are classed this way to mean that they need to be inspected more often to be able to identify and carry out maintenance when needed. The Welsh Government says that it does not mean that they are unsafe, but they may be larger tips and are more likely to be close to communities or infrastructure.

A category C coal tip should be inspected by the Coal Authority once a year and category D tips twice a year.

There are also category A, B and R coal tips. Category A and B tips do not need frequent inspections.

Julie James, the Welsh Government’s climate change minister who commissioned the project, said: “I would like to thank the Coal Authority, local authorities and Natural Resources Wales for their help and support in preparing the data for publication.

“It has been a mammoth undertaking to identify, record and categorise all disused coal tips in Wales into a single central database, which did not exist before.

“For this data release, we have focused on category C and D tips as they are needing more frequent inspections so we can identify and carry out maintenance when needed.

“In our Programme for Government, we also committed to introducing legislation during this Senedd term.

“Our priority is to ensure that people living and working near coal tips feel safe and secure now and in the future.

“Our proposals will achieve that by setting in place a long-term, fit for purpose regime which will be led by a newly created public body.”

Across Wales, there are more than 1,500 landowners and around 600 occupiers of properties who have all or part of a disused coal tip on their land and the Welsh Government has written to them all to tell them.

The maintenance and inspection work will continue as normal and the Welsh Government will make an additional £44.4m available to local authorities to allow work to continue on public and privately owned tips.

The Welsh Government is looking to introduce the Disused Tips Bill into the Senedd in 2024.