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Friday, 19 September 2014

Egremont residents need some assurance

West Cumbria’s geology has been in the headlines for months. But in Egremont right now the issue is not disposal of nuclear waste.

Another form of energy is on the agenda, namely coal mining and its legacy.

Not for the first time, people in Egremont find themselves homeless after a mineshaft collapsed next to their houses.

The hole which opened up at Howbank Road on Wednesday is the latest of several such incidents on the Smithfield estate over the past few years.

Shafts have opened up, families have been evacuated and houses demolished.

The question of why houses came to be built over 200ft mine shafts is certainly an issue worth debating.

The essential issue now is ensuring people are not put at further risk.

It is worrying to hear that the exact number of shafts in the area is not known, and that there are no maps to show their locations.

The authorities must see to it that the area is surveyed as quickly as possible to determine where the shafts are and which properties are potentially at risk.

Many local residents are currently living with fear, uncertainty and worry.

Hopefully they will be reassured.

And if not, at least they will know the truth, however unpalatable it may be.

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