Development in Former Coal Mining Areas

Advice if you have been granted planning permission on a site in a former coal mining area.

If the proposed development lies within an area that has been defined by the Coal Authority as containing potential hazards arising from former coal mining activity.

Hazards include:

  • mine entries (shafts and adits)
  • shallow coal workings
  • geological features (fissures and break lines)
  • mine gas
  • previous surface mining sites

Although such hazards are seldom readily visible, they can often be present and problems can occur in the future, particularly as a result of development taking place.

It is recommended that information outlining how the former mining activities affect the proposed development, along with any mitigation measures required (for example the need for gas protection measures within the foundations), be submitted alongside any subsequent application for Building Regulations approval (if relevant).

Development over or within Mine Entry

Any form of development over or within the influencing distance of a mine entry can be dangerous and raises significant safety and engineering risks and exposes all parties to potential financial liabilities.  As a general precautionary principle, the Coal Authority considers that the building over or within the influencing distance of a mine entry should, wherever possible be avoided.  In exceptional circumstances where this is unavoidable, expert advice must be sought to ensure that a suitable engineering design is developed and agreed with regulatory bodies which takes into account of all the relevant safety and environmental risk factors, including gas and mine-water.

Please view the Coal Authority Policy (Opens in a New Window) (Opens in a New Window) in relation to new development and mine entries.

Any intrusive activities which disturb or enter any coal seams, coal mine workings or coal mine entries (shafts and adits) requires a Coal Authority Permit.

Activities could include:

  • site investigation boreholes
  • digging of foundations, piling actives
  • other ground works
  • any subsequent treatment of coal mine workings and coal mine entries for ground stability purposes

Failure to obtain a Coal Authority Permit for such activities is trespass, with the potential for court action.

This Information is subject to review so please contact the Coal Board for up to date advice.


Property specific summary information on past, current and future coal mining activity can be obtained from The Coal Authority (Opens in a New Window) (Opens in a New Window) or a private service provider.

If any of the coal mining features are unexpectedly encountered during development, this should be reported immediately to the Coal Authority (Opens in a New Window) (Opens in a New Window) on 0345 762 6848.

All enquiries should be directed to the Planning and Local Authority Liaison at the Coal Authority on the following details:

Planning Administration
tel: 0115 917 7777