today welcomed the launch of a new added value report service aimed
at addressing housing market problems caused by disused mineshafts.
Griffiths also praised the organisation's role in managing the
environmental impacts of coal mining such as mine discharges and
Mr Griffiths said:
'With its long and proud history, coal mining has left a complex and
varied physical legacy. In the Coal Authority we have an organisation
ideally equipped to shoulder the responsibility associated with our
Next week the authority will begin offering an interpretive report
service which will help the public take a more informed view on the
potential influence of disused mineshafts which have been having a
blighting effect on property prices in former coal mining areas,
particularly in parts of the West Midlands.
The minister added:
'The Coal Authority has worked hard to develop this new product as
well as a specially tailored insurance product which will accompany
every residential mining report. I am grateful to the authority and
the other Mineshafts Working Group members for the part they have
each played in delivering these positive responses to a difficult
'The DTI has worked hard to focus minds in such a way that the
perceived threat of mineshafts, in particular in the perceptions of
potential buyers, is put in the proper perspective.'
* The coal authority is a non-departmental public body sponsored by
the DTI. Its principal responsibilities are:
- Licensing coal mining operations and granting leases to exploit
- Addressing subsidence damage not the responsibility of coal mining
- Management of property and the historic legacy of past coal mining.
- Providing geological and other information on past and future coal
* In the context of house purchases in coal mining areas it is
routine for conveyancing solicitors to commission from the Coal
Authority a coal mining search report. When a report discloses the
existence of a disused coal mineshaft within 20 metres of a property
a sale can be jeopardised and/or a property can be devalued. This
more commonly occurs in areas where intensive shallow workings in the
19th century were followed by urban development, notably,
Stoke-on-Trent and Walsall.
* Disused mineshafts very rarely cause actual property damage and
where they do the Coal Authority, funded by the DTI are obliged to
carry out repairs at no cost to the householder.
* The interpretive report will provide more detailed analysis and
advice about mine entries including a risk assessment as to whether,
in the expert opinion of the Coal Authority, the main building of the
property is inside or outside the possible zone of ground movement
from any reported mine entry.
* The insurance cover will be provided to owners of residential
property to mitigate against any loss of value, up to a maximum of
£20,000, attributable to any material change of the mining
information revealed in any subsequent mining report on the same