The Coal Authority are a statutory consultee on planning applications for new developments that fall within former coal mining areas of the UK.

The Coal Authority has published a map of the UK identifying potential areas at risk from subsurface mining activity, and provided it to 179 coalfield Local Planning Authorities in England, Wales and Scotland to identify when they need to be consulted on planning applications.

The Coal Authority has used its extensive mining records of the UK to identify development “High Risk” and “Low Risk” areas.

If your site falls within a High Risk Area for mining, then you may need to submit mining information with your planning application to identify potential issues and constraints relating to ground stability on your development site.

Typical constraints can include one or more of the following:

DBS Environmental Coal Mining Risk Assessments
  • Shallow worked coal seams;
  • Mine entries (shafts and adits);
  • Workable coal seam outcrops;
  • Mine Gas Emissions;
  • Geological features such as fissures and break lines;
  • Former surface mining hazards.

For Development High Risk Area’s, the basic principal is that hazards need to be identified, and risks mitigated with a suitable risk assessment.

In order to provide this information in a suitable format for clients and the regulators, DBS has devised a Coal Mining Desk Study report that identifies potential mining hazards on development sites and documents mitigation proposals.

Our report structure follows the requirements of The Coal Authority guidance document Risk Based Approach to Development Management, Resources for Developers (2017), and also The Coal Authority Model Reporting Template for Risk Assessment (2017).

DBS Environmental Coal Mining Risk Assessments

Mitigation for mining hazards typically involves traditional engineering techniques, such as the drilling and grouting of subsurface worked coal seams to stabilise the ground, and the excavation and re-capping of mine shafts to a suitably engineered standard in accordance with CIRIA SP32 guidance, Construction Over Abandoned Mine Workings.

This work is undertaken in advance of built surface development.

If you want to know if your site is in a Development High Risk Area for mining, or want to discuss procuring a Coal Mining Risk Assessment for your project, then please contact us.

DBS are currently supporting numerous sites through the redevelopment process that have on site constraints from past underground coal mining and surface mining. Get in touch to find out how we can help identify and mitigate these features safely and efficiently so that your site can proceed without delay.

Call us today on  0191 5118 556 or Email us at

“We won’t have a society if we destroy the environment”
– Margaret Mead –