Coal Mining and Site Redevelopment Risks

The North West Regional Brownfield Regeneration Forum has announced a seminar to take place this month at the Etihad Stadium, Manchester entitled “Mining Legacy, Implications for Construction and Development”.

With a range of speakers, including representatives from the Coal Authority, the event is a welcome addition to the calendar and offers professionals dealing with land regeneration an update on the risks associated with developing mining impacted sites.

Due to our past historical use of coal reserves, there is much land across the UK that has risks present associated with subsurface coal mining, and any risks need to be managed and mitigated safely.

Subsurface mining can present ground stability risks to surface from worked seams, from collapse of shafts and adits and from the emission of potentially deadly mine gas (methane ((explosive)) and carbon dioxide ((asphyxiating)).

The Coal Authority are a statutory consultee on planning, and have recently revised their guidance for developers on the requirements for Coal Mining Risk Assessment reports to support planning applications where a site falls within a “High Risk Area” for mining.

DBS are currently involved with managing risks from mining on several sites going through the redevelopment process, and we have a Coal Mining Risk Assessment report style underpinned by the new Coal Authority guidance for developers.

Methods to deal with mining risks typically involve traditional engineering solutions, such as re-capping mine shafts with an engineered cap in accordance with CIRIA SP32 guidance, sealing of addits, and drilling and grouting of mine workings.

We work with specialist ground investigation contractors to grout workings, forming successful partnerships to stabilise sites and mitigate ground settlement risks.

We can also design and implement programmes of mine gas monitoring ahead of site development, with ground gas risk assessment based on the monitoring results undertaken to fully quantify development risks to human health and property receptors.