Almost all of the Falkirk Council area has a history of coal mining. The Coal Authority has used its records to divide the coalfield into two kinds of area; high risk and low risk. We have to consult the Coal Authority on planning applications for some kinds of building work inside the high risk areas.

If we need to consult the Coal Authority because your application is in a high risk area, you will need to submit a Coal Mining Risk Assessment which will show us how you will make sure that your proposed development will be safe and stable. We then ask the Coal Authority to review the Assessment and provide bespoke advice.

These developments do not need a Coal Mining Risk Assessment (CMRA) by virtue of application type:

Type of application CMRA required?
(Yes / No)
Approval of Matters Specified in Conditions No The Coal Mining Risk Assessment should inform the principle of the development; it needs to demonstrate to the Local Planning Authority that the site is safe and stable for the development proposed. For this reason, CMRA should be undertaken as part of the application for planning permission in principle. If it has not been undertaken then it will be required.
Householder Development No No spatial influence over development location
Heritage Consents (Listed Building or Conservation Areas) No No ground works
Advertisement Consent No No significant ground works
Lawful Development Certificates No No ground works
Prior Notifications where built development is proposed No Although it is appreciated that ground instability is not a consideration as part of the prior notification process the Coal Authority would welcome the opportunity to provide the LPA with comments on the coal mining legacy present, for information only, on sites where the erection of new buildings is proposed via the Prior Notification process.
Hazardous Substances Consent No Limited scope of influence
Tree or Hedgerow Works (TPO or in Conservation Area) No No significant ground works

The following proposals are exempt from CMRA by virtue of the nature of development:

Nature of development Typical recent examples CMRA required? (Yes / No) Justification
Pure Changes of Use of land or buildings Agriculture to garden; office to residential No No ground works
Changes of use of land where no buildings or structures are proposed and groundworks are minimal Car parks with provision of unbound surface, external manège, external storage areas, provision of footpaths No Minimal groundworks. Such exemptions will only apply where there are no significant groundworks or engineering operations (beyond possible surface scraping and installation of loose covering materials).
Erection of Buildings/Structures with minimal foundations/ground works required Electric vehicle charging points, ground mounted air con units, air source heat pumps, decking, smoking shelters, building canopies, Containerised Back up generators, *Portacabins (for storage purposes only), **solar arrays No The erection of these types of buildings/structures likely to require minimal disturbance of ground
Means of enclosure Fences, walls, gates No Minimal disturbance of ground
Street type furniture Signage; public art, lighting/CCTV columns, cycle racks, benches No Minimal disturbance of ground
Alterations to existing non-residential buildings New shop frontages, new windows or door openings, addition of mezzanines No No ground works

*Applications relating to modular buildings which are proposed to be regularly or permanently occupied – ie classrooms, offices, hospital buildings etc. may need to be supported by a Coal Mining Risk Assessment. This should be proportionate to the nature of the development proposed and at the discretion of the Case Officer.

**Where built development is proposed within the DHRA to support the solar farm, including masonry structures, and/or large kiosks with substantial foundations, a CMRA should be provided to the Local Planning Authority.

  • a recognised relevant qualification
  • experience in dealing with ground stability and mining legacy related issues
  • membership with a relevant professional organisation

For developers, the Coal Authority provides information on coal mining risk assessments on the GOV.UK website.

Falkirk Development Risk Map