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One of our consultants Phil recently attended the North East Contaminated Land Forum, the biannual conference in the north-east for land contamination and land quality, attended by industry professionals including consultancies, chemical testing laboratories and groundworkers.  The conference is held at the Environment Agencies regional offices and outlines developing concepts, upcoming issues, new legislation and guidance and provides a useful event to meet peers and discuss ideas.  Guest speakers are invited to present topics providing useful case studies and practical advice for application in the field with attendees able to ask questions to gain further understanding.

This conference covered topics including treatment of coal mining by extraction prior to redevelopment, very apt for the North East; the use and future integration of Digital Soil Tracking software; and guidance on the accuracy of ground gas monitoring.

The extraction to treat coal workings prior to development presentation was given by Richard Wood of Harland Resources and was primarily focused on case studies in West Yorkshire.  The basic concept is the use of opencast extraction of remaining coal deposits within the site under licence from the Local Authority with replacement of fill in accordance with a geotechnical performance specification.  The use of this methodology is limited by the size of the scheme, depth of historic workings, extent of previous extraction, quality of the coal present and current economics of extraction.

Of the conference as a whole, Phil said:

“I found the extraction of coal prior to development talk very interesting.  Within the north-east there is a long history of coal mining and mineral extraction which has left a lot of workings beneath the surface.  The use of shallow opencasting to treat workings is not something I had come across before, I have only really seen the use of grout stabilisation.

I was interested to hear how the technique was used in practice and how the extraction impacted scheme delivery in terms of time and remediation.”