The legacy of coal mining since the industrial revolution has left abandoned mine workings, shafts and tunnels across wide areas of the UK. Coal Mining Risks associated with historic mine workings include subsidence and the release of explosive methane gas. If you are planning a new development in a Coal Authority Consultation Area with a past history of mining, you may be required to submit a Coal Mining Risk Assessment (CMRA) in support of your planning application. Hydrogeo have completed many Coal Mining Risk Assessments for residential, commercial and industrial properties.
Why do I need a Coal Mining Risk Assessment?
The Coal Authority have used available mining records to divide the Coalfields into 2 spatial areas, Development High Risk Area and Development Low Risk Area. A Development High Risk Area is where there are hazards that are likely to affect a development. Local Planning Authorities will screen your site against coalfield plans provided by The Coal Authority which show these risks. For example, your site may have a coal seam directly beneath it, or shallow abandoned mine workings may be present below the site. Coal mining features may be out of sight, but they can still pose a risk to a development hundreds of years after mining has taken place.
If your site is in a Development High Risk Area, you will need to submit a Coal Mining Risk Assessment to your Local Planning Authority, along with your planning application. Local Planning Authorities will not accept only a dataset from The Coal Authority – the data must be reviewed by a qualified person and cross checked with other evidence to provide a full Coal Mining Risk Assessment.
What is covered in a Coal Mining Risk Assessment?
Coal Mining Risk Assessments prepared by Hydrogeo follow the template set out by the Coal Authority. They assess the following risks that coal mining can pose to a development:
- Recorded shallow mining
- Possible shallow mining
- Mine entries including shafts and tunnels
- Coal mining fissures
- Mine gas including methane and carbon dioxide
- Past recorded subsidence
- Past opencast mining
- The potential for future mining
Hydrogeo consult historical maps and documentation, geological and borehole data and the Coal Authority database in order to prepare a comprehensive Coal Mining Risk Assessment. More complex sites may require a visit to the offices of the Coal Authority to assess mining plans and records.
Many of the sites that Hydrogeo assess require no further action and are safe for development. If the Coal Mining Risk Assessment identifies a risk to a development, then it may be possible to alter the development layout to take into account the risk. A programme of site investigation can be completed in order to further assess or reduce the risk.
Why should I choose Hydrogeo?
The Coal Authority requires that the Coal Mining Risk Assessment is prepared by a suitably qualified ‘competent’ person with a recognised relevant qualification, sufficient experience in dealing with ground stability and mining legacy related issues, and holds membership of a relevant professional organisation.
At Hydrogeo we are a team of qualified geologists, hydrogeologists and contaminated land specialists with over 40 years of experience in geology, groundwater and contaminated land. All of our staff are either Fellows of the Geological Society or Chartered Geologists. Hydrogeo therefore meet the requirements for the preparation of a Coal Mining Risk Assessment.
Hydrogeo have undertaken Coal Mining Risk Assessments for a wide range of clients and sites from single plot housing developments to large commercial sites. We have carried out mining risk assessments across England, Scotland and Wales and have experience in all major coal fields, from Brora to Bristol.
The findings of our reports are presented clearly and concisely. We can recommend whether further action is required, detailing next steps such as layout rearrangement or site investigation. Alternatively, a site may be found to be stable and suitable for development. We have good working relationships and liaise closely with local authorities and The Coal Authority, saving you time and money.