The legacy of past coal mining continues to have an impact in many areas of Britain. In the past many local authorities had a hit or miss approach to this as regards to planning. Now all coalfield planning applications are checked by the Local Authority. If they fall into a HIGH DEVELOPMENT RISK AREA the L.P.A. will require a coal mining risk assessment before the application can be validated. This assessment is reviewed by the Coal Authority in their capacity as a statutory consultee. The assessment is desk-based in the first instance. In the majority of cases the desk study is enough to satisfy the Coal Authority that the site is safe and stable, in line with the government guidelines.
In certain cases intrusive investigations such as drilling are unavoidable. After an initial free consultation, which can be as simple as a telephone call, I will advise if I think this will be the case. If it is I will produce a less intensive assessment recommending drilling. The price is heavily discounted from a full assessment but it will be sufficient to get the planning application passed and then the drilling becomes a planning condition. Drilling can be expensive and requires a permit from the Coal Authority. I make every effort to make sure my clients do not need to undertake such work if at all possible.
I also include a site visit in my assessment. Whilst not strictly required on the Coal Authority template, they can prove invaluable in making the case that the site is safe. There are websites offering risk assessments for an unrealistically low fixed price. These may be computer generated or badly produced by people with no specialised knowledge of the area. They will almost certainly recommend drilling a site simply because they are not thorough enough. What initially seems like a bargain can become a very expensive mistake. My price is realistic and fair but can vary on the amount of documentation needed to be purchased. However, planning consent will be granted with no further expenditure. If I think this is not the case I will advise of this from the initial consultation.