Old Mine Workings: Safety

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy – in the House of Commons on 9th February 2021.

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Photo of Stephen Kinnock Stephen Kinnock Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

With reference to recent flooding in Skewen, what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the Coal Authority on the safety of old mine workings.

Photo of Anne-Marie Trevelyan Anne-Marie Trevelyan Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)

First, I wish to offer my sympathies to all the families affected in the Skewen floods. My officials have been updated by the Coal Authority on the flooding in Skewen on a regular basis and on the work that it and local partners are doing to support the community, remediate the site and allow people to return safely to their homes. I will be meeting people from the Coal Authority shortly to discuss its work and the investments it is making to reduce the risk of this ever happening again.

Photo of Stephen Kinnock Stephen Kinnock Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

My constituents in Skewen have been devastated and traumatised by the flooding that ripped through their homes on 21 January. The disused mine workings that caused this incident are the responsibility of the Coal Authority and, ultimately, of the UK Government. Will the right hon. Lady therefore ensure that the Government fill the gaps not covered by insurance and provide financial support to those who are not insured? Does she agree that not a single Skewen resident should be left out of pocket by this terrible flooding?

Photo of Anne-Marie Trevelyan Anne-Marie Trevelyan Minister of State (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Energy and Clean Growth)

The hon. Gentleman is a wonderful advocate for his constituents, and I hope very much to be able to visit Skewen with him and talk personally to those affected. The Coal Authority does not have liability for flooding; flooding, whether from a river, stream or groundwater, is mainly dealt with through insurance, and I know that the Welsh Government emergency grant equivalent of the Bellwin scheme for those affected by flooding in England provides a higher sum. So I look forward to working with him and to hearing directly from his constituents as soon as we can arrange this.