The Coal Authority has been given Category 2 responder status, confirming its position as a key organisation in the response to emergencies that happen on the UK’s coalfields. Along with the Met Office, the Coal Authority has been added to the list of Category 2 responders as a result of the 2021 review of the Civil Contingencies Act 2004.
Julia Draycon is Community and Emergency Response Director at the Coal Authority. She explained, “The Coal Authority has always been called upon to support the ‘blue-light’ emergency services on major incidents related to historical mining.
“The Coal Authority is not the Coal Board of old. We operate to protect the public and the environment from any potentially negative effects of our hugely significant mining past and this recognition, along with our wider goals to treat more mine water, improve customer service and regenerate huge areas of our estate, also helps us to deliver for the communities we serve on a long-term basis.”
The Coal Authority was established in 1994 under the Coal Industry Act 1994, to manage some of the functions of the then British Coal Corporation.
Nearly 30 years on, it is now responsible for licensing coal mining in Britain, managing the safety issues that have resulted from years of coal and metal mining, dealing with water pollution caused by historical coal mining and working with partners and the public to provide mining reports and respond to planning consultation requests.
Jim Repp, Head of Emergency Response at the Coal Authority added, “Category 2 responder status helps us raise awareness of the work we do across Great Britain, working with local resilience forums in emergency planning and multi-agency training exercises to highlight potential risks. It also means we can provide mutual assistance in incidents where our expertise may be extremely valuable.”
Incidents that the Coal Authority commonly assists with include sudden ground collapses, releases of water or gas, land drainage related to mine subsidence, coal tip slips and incidents of spontaneous combustion on the coalfield. The Coal Authority also manages and responds to incidents relating to metal mine pollution.
The photo shown here shows work taking place by the Coal Authority after a mine shaft collapse in Workington, Cumbria.