Planning applications: Coal Mining Risk Assessments

Guidance on how to find out if a Coal Mining Risk Assessment is needed for a site, and how to get and submit one.

Eleven per cent of Britain sits on the coalfield. The coalfield can be divided into 2 areas, referred to as the Coal Authority Development High Risk Area and the Coal Authority Development Low Risk Area, when considering coal mining risks for land development.

If you are submitting a planning application in the Coal Authority Development Low Risk Area then there is no statutory requirement to submit a Coal Mining Risk Assessment.

If your site is in a Development High Risk Area you will need to submit a Coal Mining Risk Assessment to your Local Planning Authority, to support your planning application.

The Coal Authority considers that some types of development do not need to be supported by a Coal Mining Risk Assessment and these are published on our exemptions list.

Coal mining risk assessment exemption list

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The aim of the Coal Mining Risk Assessment is to identify site specific coal mining risks and set out the proposed mitigation strategy to show that the site can be made safe and stable for the development that is proposed.

In many cases this risk assessment is required before the planning application will be validated by the Local Planning Authority.

Fifteen per cent of the coalfield is considered high risk for new development, meaning coal mining risks are present at a shallow depth and could affect new developments.

The low risk area covers 85% of the coalfield, meaning past coal mining activity has taken place at sufficient depth that it poses low risk.

Check if your site is in a High Risk Area on the coalfield

You can use the Coal Authority’s interactive map viewer tool to understand if you will need to submit a Coal Mining Risk Assessment as it provides information about Development High Risk Areas.

Please activate the ‘High Risk Area’ option to see this information.

The interactive map viewer data is updated annually.

Obtaining a coal mining risk assessment

A Coal Mining Risk Assessment must be prepared by a competent person.

A definition and guidance is provided in Resources for Developers: Risk-Based Approach to Development Management (PDF, 737KB, 22 pages)

Coal Authority planning and local authority liaison team

Monday to Thursday: 8.45am to 5pm
Friday: 8.45am to 4.30pm

Published 17 September 2014
Last updated 31 January 2017 + show all updates
  1. Update to the Guidance for Developers - Risk Based Approach to Development Management (Version 4)
  2. Updated coal mining risk assessment exemption list document
  3. First published.