Russell Corbyn
June 2014

Book Review: Statutory Nuisance Mine Shafts

This publication offers a concise overview of updates to the various guidance, legislation, technologies and requirements that rest with Local Authorities, Land Owners, Mine Owners and the general public. It is non-technical in nature and aimed at providing clear information with regard to Nuisance Mineshafts. It gives guidance on how to apply a best practice approach in terms of mine investigation/inspection and superbly describes legislation and regulation associated with nuisance entries and their investigation and abatement, as well as the associated vagaries presented therein.

The introductory chapters detail the extent of the mining in the UK and the scale and nature of the problems. Good photographs help the non-expert be familiar with the risks posed by a range of nuisance entry types as well as the problems with untreated entries and treated entries that are failing. Although legislation can be dry and dreary that is not the case here. A summary of the variety of Parliamentary Acts are well written, non-technical and quite fluid. It also discusses how the Acts would impact the requirements of the Local Authority regarding Part IIA, also any discrepancies and ambiguities associated with the regulatory engines.

Book coverThere is a useful section briefly describing guidance sources including Coal Authority, DOE and CIRIA guidance, the role of the Local Authority Environmental Health Officer, the HSE as well as a variety of interested parties. It also sheds light on the problems that may be faced regarding each (or some) in carrying out the investigations and remedial works on long-term projects as well as emergency ones.

Investigation techniques and methods are briefly described including the use of updated technologies, aerial photography, historic mapping, archive information, remote sensing including thermal imagery and LIDAR scanning, online resources as well as local groups of cavers, historians and miners.

Importantly the book gives thought to practical considerations, health and safety and an extremely useful Best Practice Guidance for inspection/survey of nuisance mine entrances and their remediation along with a plethora of relevant considerations.

As with any overview of guidance the only downside is that so many interesting individual issues could be expanded on, however, the publication does point the reader to a good range of legislation, regulation, information sources and online resources.

In summary the well written book acts as a very useful tool for Local Authorities and Regulators (as well as current mine/land owners) as the book describes the dangers posed, liabilities incurred, infringements likely, statutes affected, technologies used and problems relating to the inspection, presence, abatement and remediation of potential nuisance mine entrances. 

Statutory Nuisance Mine Shafts - Methods of Investigation and Duties of Local Authorities
David Holmes (author) | ISBN: 9781291637243 | Published: October 2013