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Portishead Branch Line - MetroWest Phase 1
Received 26 February 2020
From The Coal Authority
“The Coal Authority is pleased to note that the applicant is aware that parts of the proposed Portishead Branch Line fall within our defined Development High Risk Area. However, we note that Section 5.3.8 of the Environmental Statement (ES) Volume 2 identifies that the following matters have been scoped out of the ES, as agreed with the Planning Inspectorate: Ground Conditions: The impact of new and additional services on the railway lines on geology, as there will be no further significant impacts on the underlying ground conditions following construction. In light of the above, taking into consideration the areas which fall within the Development High Risk Area and the nature of development required in those areas to improve the existing railway line (pedestrian crossings / footway and cycleway / retaining walls) the Coal Authority has no objections to the above planning application. However, the Coal Authority does recommend that, should planning permission be granted for this proposal, the following wording is included as an Informative Note on any planning permission granted: 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. These hazards can include: mine entries (shafts and adits); shallow coal workings; geological features (fissures and break lines); mine gas and 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. 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 circumstance 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. Your attention is drawn to the Coal Authority Policy in relation to new development and mine entries available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/building-on-or-within-the-influencing-distance-of-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. Such activities could include site investigation boreholes, digging of foundations, piling activities, other ground works and 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. Property specific summary information on past, current and future coal mining activity can be obtained from: www.groundstability.com or a similar service provider. If any of the coal mining features are unexpectedly encountered during development, this should be reported immediately to the Coal Authority on 0345 762 6848. Further information is available on the Coal Authority website at: www.gov.uk/coalauthority”