Coal Mining Risk Assessment Reports – Various Developments

DBS Environmental Phase 2 Ground Investigation

Coal Mining Risk Assessment Reports

The Coal Authority is a statutory consultee on planning applications for new development within coal mining areas, as they have a specific responsibility to manage the environmental legacy of coal mining.

  • Client: Various Developments
  • Date: 2014 – 2018

Summary

The Coal Authority is a statutory consultee on planning applications for new development within coal mining areas, as they have a specific responsibility to manage the environmental legacy of coal mining.

The Coal Authority has used its mining records to provide Local Planning Authorities (LPAs) within coalfield areas with GIS data to identify if a development site falls within an area of potential concern with regards to risks from shallow mining.

The coalfield within any one location is divided up into two spatial areas, “High Risk” and “Low Risk”.

If a site falls within a low risk area, no mining information needs to be provided to the LPA to support a planning application.

If a site falls within a high risk area, then a desk based coal mining risk assessment report is required and the Coal Authority will be consulted by the LPA as to the findings of the report, and any proposed measures to make the site safe during redevelopment.

The coal mining risk report is an initial screening document that lets the regulators know that all potential risks from coal mining legacy have been identified and understood, and that suitable mitigation measures have been identified if risks are present, so that development can proceed safely.

In order to provide the LPA and The Coal Authority with information that they require, we prepare Coal Mining Risk Assessment reports that follow the requirements of The Coal Authority guidance document “Risk Based Approach to Development Management, Resources for Developers (2017)”.

Our reports are bespoke for each development site, and assess risks to surface development from the following:

  • Historical mine entries (shafts and adits);
  • Shallow coal workings;
  • Workable coal seam outcrops;
  • Mine gas (methane and carbon dioxide); and
  • Geological features (fissures, faults etc).

The risk assessment report is informed with a CON29 mining report obtained from The Coal Authority, and also makes use of relevant British Geological Survey (BGS) geology mapping at scales of
1:50,000 and 1:10,000 (if available).

We also obtain any available BGS borehole logs for your site, or, the immediate surrounding area, and we may also use Ordnance Survey (OS) historical mapping to evaluate risks on any one site.

By taking all of the available mining, geological and historical information into account, and the proposed building footprint and foundation requirements, we can assess potential mining risks to your development.

Often, mining risks can be quantified to be not significant and no further work is then required, the types of situations where this can occur include where it can be proven that worked coal seams are at a depth and thickness to not have the potential to impact surface development, or, where it can be demonstrated that a coal seam is off site, and is dipping away from the site in the subsurface, and therefore potential for shallow workings can be ruled out.

If the risk assessment report does identify potential risks to built surface development, then site investigation can be undertaken to quantify these risks further, once planning consent is awarded.

If a site investigation does identify that risks are present, then mitigation measures can be designed and implemented on site to protect development from future issues such as settlement/collapse and mine gas ingress.

Mining risks are real, and if not properly addressed they can lead to huge cost expense, or, can be fatal to people living or working on a site with coal mining issues.

There are many documented fatalities in the UK from mine gas (carbon dioxide can asphyxiate in minutes) emissions, and property risks from methane (explosion), and property stability issues are widespread.

It is therefore essential that a coal mining risk assessment report is prepared by professionals who fully understand the issues and can identify cost effective solutions, if required. We work on sites across the UK.

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