Frequently asked questions

Overview

Mining searches are considered by property professionals to be vital for anyone buying property in any mining area in Britain. The Coal Authority holds and maintains the national coal mining database for both opencast and deep mining activities and we offer a wide range of reports to assist purchasers and their conveyancers in assessing the possible risks from coal mine activity.

Coal mining may affect a property by causing subsidence, although under the Coal Mining Subsidence Act 1991, owners of property damaged by coal mining may be entitled to remedies including repair, depreciation or compensation payments.

Frequently Asked Questions

 


Q1: What information is in a mining report?

Our most popular mining report, CON29M, provides information on past, current and proposed underground coal mining activity along with details of any recorded coal mineshafts, adits and licences for future mining. It is essential prior to the completion of a house purchase if the property is within a coalfield area.

Other reports we offer include our Enviro All-in-One report which is produced in partnership with Groundsure and includes information on historical land use, flooding (in England and Wales), natural subsidence hazards and contaminated land risk.

For a full list of our reports please visit our website www.groundstability.com.


Q2: How can I order a mining report?

To order a report or to check if your property may be affected by mining activity, please visit our website www.groundstability.com.

If you do not already have an account set up on our system, you can log on as a guest to order the report which is right for you. If you use our service regularly, we would recommend becoming a registered user.


Q3: How much does a report cost?

Our current pricing structure came into effect on 1 April 2017. The prices differ depending on the amount of detailed information in the report and whether you provide the boundary information, or ask the Coal Authority to do this for you.


Q4: Why are there so many different reports?

We offer a variety of reports based on the information that is required. Our main reports are the CON29M, Ground Stability and the Enviro All-in-One, and these are available for both residential dwellings and non-residential, commercial buildings or land. In addition to these, we also offer follow on reports which provide additional interpretation and are good value for money when you need additional information. All reports are compiled and checked by our experts.

To see what report would be recommended for your property please go to our website www.groundstability.com or call us on; 0345 762 6848, option 1.

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Q5: Why do reports on mine entries only cover 20 metres of the property boundary?

The reporting distance of 20 metres is recommended and agreed with the Law Society, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Council of Mortgage Lenders and the Association of British Insurers.


Q6: How can I find out about subsidence claims in my local area?

Our main reports now identify all claims within 50 metres of the property boundary, rather than just the property the report is for. A follow on Subsidence Claims 50m Buffer report is also available, which provides more detailed information on any claims identified in a previous report.


Q7: Why does the summary table say ‘Yes’ to the mine entry question when there is no mine entry within 20 metres of the property boundary?

If there is a mine entry within 20 metres of the property boundary, the summary table will show a ‘Yes’ and further details about the entry will be shown in the detailed findings section.

Occasionally, our records show shallow workings in an area, but we have no record of mine entries. As there may be a risk of unrecorded mine entries in the area, a ‘Yes’ will also appear in the summary table, but the detailed findings will state that there is no mine entry recorded.


Q8: Why do I have to order the report online?

Our online ordering system is a quick and user-friendly way to order your reports, which, in most cases, are issued almost instantly if you draw the boundary yourself. If you do not have a desktop or laptop computer at home, please contact your local library or community centre to see if they have one you can use, or, if appropriate, ask a friend or a family member for assistance.


Q9: Can I pay for a report by cheque?

Unfortunately, we are no longer able to accept payment by cheque. Payment via credit or debit card means that orders can be processed more quickly.

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Q10: Why has the address that I originally entered changed during the address search?

Our ordering system is linked to information provided by third parties and sometimes this means that the address will change slightly from what you originally entered. If the address on your report has changed, please contact us on 0345 762 6848 and we will arrange for a new report to be issued to you.


Q11: I am ordering a report for a development plot – what information do you need from me?

To help us make sure we draw the boundary in the right place, please attach both a development plot plan and a location plan showing established roads with road names.

In addition, you can draw the boundary for the plot yourself, or a circle covering the area of the plot.


Q12: I am ordering a report for a flat within a large block – what information do you need from me?

To make sure the report is correct for your flat, please indicate on a location plan by clearly marking where your flat is located within the block, for example on which side, or corner, your flat is. In addition, you can draw the boundary for the flat within the block yourself.


Q13: How long does it take to get a report?

Providing the information we have been given is correct, we return the majority of our reports within 24 hours. During busy periods it may take up to 72 hours. If you draw the report boundary yourself, then, in most cases, reports are issued almost instantly.


Q14: What should I do if I haven’t received my report?

If you have not received your report within 72 hours, it could be that the information you supplied was not complete, so please check to see if we have sent you an email. If you haven’t received an email, please contact us on 0345 762 6848.

If you are a registered customer, you can check your order history and view the status of ordered reports. If you have not received your report within 72 hours, you can download/re-email the reports yourself by logging on to our website.

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Q15: How long is the report valid for?

There is no general time protection of the information in the report. The ability to rely on a report depends on all circumstances, such as its content, how recently it was purchased and the nature of the property. Mining information available to us may change, so if there is any doubt about the information in a previous report, we recommend that you purchase a new one. Without prejudice to the above statement, any mining report must not be relied on for longer than 90 days. If further information on mine entries becomes available during the 90 days, we will email you to see if you would like to purchase a more up-to-date report.


Q16: What if I have a query about the information from Groundsure on the environmental section in the Enviro All-in-One report?

Any service related queries should be directed to us by email at groundstability@coal.gov.uk.


Q17: How do I become a registered/credit account customer?

To apply for an account with us, you will first have to order a report using a credit or debit card. After putting in your details, you need to tick the box that asks “Do you want to become a registered customer?” We will then send you an activation link on an email so that you can create a username and password. As soon as you receive this information, you can login and there is an option for you to request a credit account. This will automatically notify us to send out a credit agreement form to you. Payments will still need to be made by credit or debit card until this credit agreement has been processed and approved. Once it has been approved, you will get a monthly invoice from us.


Q18: Does the Coal Authority offer a rebate/reward scheme?

We do have a rebate scheme in place for customers with a credit account who reach a certain level of spend within a month. If you would like to know more please contact us on 0345 762 6848 or email groundstability@coal.gov.uk.


Q19: What do I do if the search report shows no mine entry shafts but my property suffers from coal mining subsidence in the future?

We (the Coal Authority) or statutory Licensees have a legal duty to take remedial action if a property is affected by subsidence damage caused by coal mining operations. If you believe your property has been damaged by coal mining subsidence, details of how to claim can be found on our website.

To report a coal mine hazard, please contact our 24 hour 7 day a week emergency service helpline: 01623 646333.

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