Information for residents

Permit for works at Nether Farm, Birchwood Lane, Somercotes

We are aware of concerns about development plans at a site at Nether Farm, Birchwood Lane, Somercotes.


Avant Homes are planning to create a housing development on the site of Nether Farm, Somercotes. To enable them to do this, they require a number of permissions. This includes planning permission from the Local Planning Authority (LPA), in this case Amber Valley Borough Council.

Our role in the planning process

The LPA is responsible for making decisions about land use and the appropriateness of a location for a specific development. In this case, the LPA granted planning permission on 13 July 2018.

The Coal Authority exists to manage the legacy from Great Britain’s coal mining past. We keep communities safe by protecting life, drinking water and the environment from mining hazards across coalfield areas and beyond. Our role as a statutory consultee in the planning process helps us do this.

For this type of development in a Development High Risk Area on the coalfield, the LPA must consult with us. We provide advice and recommendations about the risks that should be considered in terms of the mining legacy in the area. The LPA then uses this information to make planning decisions and impose planning conditions as appropriate.

Coal Authority permit

In addition to planning permission, the developer needs a permit from the Coal Authority. Our permit process ensures that the applicant has identified and properly assessed any mining legacy in the area, and that their planned works have been properly risk assessed. Before we will issue a permit, we need assurance that adequate controls are in place to minimise the risk to public safety from our property. For Nether Farm, this includes provision for monitoring mine gases.

Further information about our permitting process can be found on our website: Get a permit to deal with coal or coal mines – GOV.UK (

In 2023, Avant Homes applied to extend an existing permit, which was originally granted on 11 November 2022. This was granted on 8 November 2023. The permit allows them to continue treatment of shallow mine workings as part of their development of the Nether Farm site.

Following notification of concerns in early 2023, we visited the site on 13 April 2023 to carry out an inspection, accompanied by parish councillors. This did not find any evidence of any coal mining-related public safety or public health issues. We did confirm that we would be happy to be involved in any future meetings. Following further reports to the team earlier this year, the team carried out a further visit on 11 April 2024 and were satisfied that Avant Homes were carrying out works in line with the permit.

Gas monitoring

We understand there have been concerns regarding potential emissions of mine gases associated with the ongoing works at Nether Farm. If you have any concerns about mine gases at any time, or need to report an emergency you suspect is linked to historic mining, please contact our hazard line on 0800 288 4242. This number is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Coal Authority can undertake mine gas monitoring where it considers there is a potential risk to public safety associated with historic mining. This will be assessed on a case by case basis. The gasses we can monitor for include carbon dioxide, methane, carbon monoxide and hydrogen sulphide which can all be associated with former mining activities (along with other sources). We also monitor for oxygen and atmospheric pressure. Should dangerous gases be detected, we can take appropriate action to ensure the safety of those affected.

As mentioned above, as part of the permit application, the applicant needs to demonstrate that they have provision for monitoring mine gas during their works. We also provide Guidance on managing the risk of hazardous gases when drilling or piling near coal on our website.

Useful contacts

For any queries about planning permission, please contact Amber Valley Borough Council on

If you wish to speak to someone at the Coal Authority, our customer services team is available from 9am to 5pm Monday to Thursday, and 9am to 4.30pm on Fridays on 0345 762 6848, 01623 637000 or

As an emergency response organisation, we also have a free 24/7/365 hazard line – 0800 288 4242. If you have any concerns about a coal hazard at any point, you can contact us on this number. For more information about the Coal Authority, please visit

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