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Groundsure Warns of Mining Risk to homebuyers

Groundsure has today released new research to alert homeowners of the hidden hazards associated with disused mine shafts in some of the UKs major cities.

In Groundsure’s latest white paper, the research identifies more than eight million residential properties nationally could be affected by disused mine shafts due to how close to the foundations of a home the mines were dug.

An average 30 per cent of properties in major cities have been identified by Groundsure as “at risk” of significant ground movement, with properties in York and Leeds recognised as the worst affected. Many other cities such as Norwich and Bristol are also at risk due to an extensive history of chalk and stone mining.

Conveyancers historically have focused on coal mines, but they are not as widespread, nor the biggest risk. There are an additional 60 types of disused mineral and metal mines throughout England and Wales, all with differing characteristics and complications. Sink holes are the most common threat, but insurers no longer cover the costs caused by them unless they directly affect the house.

Ground collapses have previously been rare, yet with 32,000 natural sinkholes currently appearing in the UK, disused mines add potentially thousands more sinkholes nationwide. This affects a homebuyer’s ability to add assets such as garden offices, hot tubs or swimming pools to their garden. Furthermore, homeowners could be faced with charges in excess of £10,000 to fill in a sinkhole that has engulfed their garden.

Climate change also poses an additional threat to the number of sinkholes appearing. Warmer summers and wetter winters will make the soil more unstable, causing ground movement and collapses to accelerate.

Additionally, due to a growing population and the need for more homes, developers have built new housing estates on top of disused mineral and mine shafts. With many of these mines dating back hundreds of years, they have been forgotten about and built over as cities have grown. As such, it is important for homeowners to not take any risks and ensure comprehensive research is done ahead of buying a property or adding new assets.

Groundsure is committed to not only spotting hazards but finding feasible solutions for the home buyer. Conveyancers already advise on ground stability reports in terms of coal mining, but beyond this the risk is perceived as insignificant. Groundsure’s unique mining records archive collates 110 million data points to produce comprehensive reports on all major non-coal mining types. These are included in Groundsure’s market leading Avista report.

Malcolm Smith, Chief Operating Officer at Groundsure said: “Non-coal mining risk affects many homes and conveyancers must be alert to this for their clients and climate change is intensifying these risks. The breadth and detail of our mining features catalogue, backed up by our expert team of geologists, means that we can bring clarity to the degree of risk for both conveyancers and homebuyers.”

Groundsure’s latest research should compel conveyancers and their clients to examine all types of mining risk. For the conveyancer, they can be confident that Avista can address all the main environmental risks and have all types of mining search covered in a cost-efficient way.