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Coal Mining Risk Assessment (CMRA)

Published: 2020-11-02 Updated: 2023-03-30 Subject:

Planning application - local requirement

When the requirement applies

A Coal Mining Risk Assessment will be necessary for all applications located within a designated ‘Development High Risk Area’. This will include Full, Outline and Reserved Matters applications.

Exempt application types and situations
This assessment will not be necessary for the following application types
  • Householder applications
  • Listed Building applications
  • Advertisement Consent
  • Lawful Development Certificates
  • Prior Notification
  • Works to trees/hedgerow applications
  • Hazardous Substance Consent
  • EIA Scoping Opinions
  • Variation of Conditions (S.73) unless relating to coal mining conditions or site layout

Any application that involves no significant ground works. This means the following:

  • Pure Changes of Use 
  • Non-permanent structures with no ground works, such as plant and generators
  • Means of enclosure, such as fences and walls
  • Street furniture, such as benches, signage and cycle racks
  • Non-residential building alterations creating no floor space, for example, new shop fronts  

What the Assessment should include

The Assessment and report should be undertaken by a competent person, typically a chartered engineer or geologist with at least 3 years’ experience in ground investigation. The purpose of the assessment is to review relevant information and to potentially discount the risks posed to the site or development by past coal mining activity. Where the associated risks cannot be discounted, it provides the opportunity for discussion of any further investigations which may be necessary.

The report should include full details of the proposal, including the site layout. The report should identify the potential risks associated with coal mining legacy for the proposed development site, citing the sources of information used to assess this risk. This must include an assessment of risks posed by specific legacy features such as mine entries, shallow coal workings, mine gas and geological features.

If the site contains mine entries, we would expect the exact location of these features to be established by intrusive site investigations, and the findings of these to be set out within the report. This is particularly important when the quantum and layout of the development is being considered. It needs to be demonstrated that the layout of the development has been informed by the location of mine entries, their potential zones of influence, and associated ‘no-build’ zones.

The report will need to include a mitigation strategy, which should set out how the identified on-site issues will be dealt with, to ensure the safety and stability of the development. Where mine entries are present, it should include a plan to illustrate the location of these.

Please note that you must get a Coal Authority permit for intrusive activities which will disturb or enter any coal seams, coal mine workings or coal mine entries, including shafts and adits, although the local planning authority requires no direct involvement in that process.

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