Landslide inspections underway as residents speak of fears of ‘another Aberfan’

Residents living close to mountains in the Valleys that were hit by landslides during Storm Dennis have spoken of their fear at what happened.

Immediate inspections of the old coal tips on the mountains in the Rhondda are underway as people living close to them told ITV News they are concerned a more serious incident could happen.

One landslide which was captured on camera in Tylorstown shows coal dramatically tumbling down the mountain.

Several others are believed to have occurred at the weekend including on the mountain road from Blaenllechau to Llanwonno.

Gerald Durham witnessed the landslide happening in Tylorstown on Sunday and it reminded him “immediately” of the Aberfan disaster.

Gerald Durham landslide eye witness
Gerald Durham witnessed the landslide on Sunday

In 1966, 144 people, including 116 children, were killed when a colliery spoil tip slide down the mountainside into a local school.

Aberfan
The avalanche of coal waste wiped out Pantglas Junior School and the surrounding houses in 1966

Gerald’s father Cliff is a former coal miner and said the scenes also reminded him of Aberfan.

Cliff Durham
Former coal worker Cliff said he thought of Aberfan ‘straight away’ when he saw the landslide caused by Storm Dennis

“I worked in a local colliery in Maerdy and as soon as I saw this, I thought of Aberfan straight away. “Believe me – you don’t want to see that again.

“There’s tonnes and tonnes of coal still around. The authorities should drill it so the water could go down but they can’t leave it like that.

“They’ve got to take it away because it could come again.”

Rob and Bill
Bill Powell, 83, said all of the mountains nearby need to be inspected

Bill Powell, 83, said all of the waste tips in the area need to be inspected.

“I think all these tips should be checked to see if there’s any water beneath them.

“How safe are they? That’s what I’m thinking. If that one in Wattstown comes down, it would be one hell of a catastrophe.

Leader of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council Cllr Andrew Morgan said discussions were underway with Natural Resources Wales to determine who owns the land.

Andrew morgan

“Engineers are on site right now. We will be carrying out inspections not just now but also going forward what is needed – establishing exactly who is responsible for this area is going to be key but if there is longer work needed, to ensure safety of the public and those properties, then I would expect it to be funded and we are in discussions with the Welsh Government about that.”

Hundreds of people in the Rhondda area have also been forced out of their homes due to severe flooding. Cllr Morgan told ITV News an emergency fund will be set up to help those who need it.

“Later today I will be making the public aware we are setting up a recovery board – that will be in place tomorrow”, he added.

“We will be making £1million of emergency funding available. Cost is not an issue at present – safety is paramount.”

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