There are new fears that parts of the amended route for HS2 through West Yorkshire could collapse as it passes through former coal mining communities. This is following an eight-metre-long crack which opened up along where the new route is planned to go.
As we mentioned in July, the route of the HS2 line through South & West Yorkshire was changed and instead of stopping at Meadowhall in Sheffield, it will now pass through an area of ex-mining communities. But there are calls from local residents for HS2 to complete full ground surveys before work will commence.
One of the original reasons why the route was moved from Meadowhall to pass through West Yorkshire was that the ground the route would have been built on was full of loose fissured rock. Experts predicted that the land would not support any bridges or viaducts which were planned to be built.
An area of West Yorkshire were residents are concerned is the village of Crofton, just outside Wakefield. In August an 8m crack was discovered, which was reported to the Government. The following day a team from the Coal Authority showed up, fenced off the crack and placed warning signs up. The hole was then filled with 15 tonnes of stone. The Coal Authority told local residents “Recorded deep mining has taken place within the zone of influence of the fissure and therefore the Coal Authority accepts liability in respect of this ground collapse.”
This part of South & West Yorkshire is full of ex mine shafts and works, the Nostell and Sharlston Collieries were only a stones throw away from Crofton. When asked about this fissure and how it would affect HS2, a HS2 Ltd spokesperson said “the historical mining features in Crofton pose no major risk to the construction programme”. It is worth mentioning that in the 1980’s & 1990’s many homes in this area were demolished due to mining subsidence.
HS2 Ltd recently published a timeline which showed they do not plan to conduct any detailed ground investigation until work on construction is due to begin. Residents believe that HS2 will just throw money at the problem increasing the cost the tax payers have to pay for the rail link. This believe is backed up by risk documents published by HS2 Ltd, which state that there is a 68% likelihood of the cost of the project increasing as a result of new information coming to light about mining in the area.
HS2 Ltd responded to this by saying “We continue to engage with the Coal Authority as we progress the more detailed design of the railway, and will carry out a programme of ground investigation works prior to construction. This will inform the engineering measures we will put in place to safely manage the presence of historical coal mining beneath the railway.”
Whether the ground can support HS2 or not, the argument against it passing through the ex-mining communities is still rumbling on.
On another note, pupils at Elmsleigh Infant and Nursery School, Swadlincote in Derbyshire now have their school playground back. This was after a sinkhole appeared in the playground in May 2017.
The Coal Authority confirmed that the hole was the result of previous mineworking and quickly began repairs. Tests at the site confirmed a shallow unrecorded shaft was located under the playground. The Coal Authority capped the shaft with a reinforced concrete slab and also filled the old workings with concrete grout.
If you are an ex-miner and you made a claim for Vibration White Finger you need to act IMMEDIATELY as claims are subject to time limits. Call a member of our team FREE on 03303 001033 to discuss your claim.