Today the Coal Authority has issued a technical guidance note following the review of findings into a large subsidence event in north-east England. The guidance hopes to bring further awareness to the risk posed by historical coal mining legacy.

As part of the Technical Note, the guidance has published a number of considerations for planners, surveyors and developers when considering the risk of mining and subsidence at development sites. The guidance highlights that although the evidence of mining from historical maps and mining plans are invaluable, they do not always give a true representation of the coal workings that may have taken place on a development site. The Coal Authority states “caution must be adopted in assuming that the absence of a record means the absence of mining”.

As part of our planning services, our Phase 1 Environmental Assessments include a review of all available historic data from the UK's most comprehensive environmental data library held by Landmark Information Group. They also feature regulatory consultation with statutory bodies; and a full site walkover by one of our PIEMA accredited environmental consultants.

By gathering this information, we can gain an informative and fast opinion on the value of the land and any potential liabilities or risks associated with the acquisition and the sites’ suitability for redevelopment. If the risk of historic mining has been identified, we are able to source specialist mining reports to further inform the identified risks of mining-related subsidence and collapse from historic mineral extraction.

As highlighted in the new technical guidance note, both desk-based research and ground investigations should be undertaken to confirm the potential for unrecorded coal workings, the competence and current condition of the geology overlaying the coal workings, and the potential effects of groundwater.

If we have identified a potential for coal or mine workings in our desk-based research, we can design and completed a targeted Phase 2 Environmental Report featuring soil and groundwater testing and ground gas monitoring to quantify identified risks from historic mining operations at your development site. This ensures that we provide maximum information and insight for minimal overall cost, so the client can make an informed decision. This cost effective investigation empowers our clients to progress with the investment fully aware of the likely ground conditions beneath the Site and how these could impact both redevelopment plans, and the overall value of the site.

View the Coal Authority’s Technical Guidance Note here.

Argyll offer a 'one-stop shop' service when it comes to environmental due-diligence. Working with expert partners across the industry, we are able to deliver a full suite of services to support transactions. Our approach ensures that our clients have one contact point throughout any project, who has a detailed understanding of the Site and is always on hand to help.

Our core services include:

- Phase 1 Preliminary Assessments

- Phase 2 Geo-environmental Ground Investigations

- Geotechnical Investigations

- UXO Risk Mitigation

- Site Condition Reports

- Remediation

- Utilities Services Identification

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