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£150,000 spent tackling mine subsidence in West Midlands and Staffordshire

Sandwell | News | Published:

More than £150,000 has been paid out to tackle subsidence caused by old mines, it has been revealed.

The Coal Authority shelled out the cash on investigating and carrying out improvement works in the last 12 months.

A Freedom of Information request revealed the authority - which manages the effects of past coal mining, including some subsidence damage claims –had been called out to investigate 54 cases of subsidence in the Black Country, Staffordshire, Wyre Forest and Birmingham.

The body would not reveal exact locations but said in Sandwell and Birmingham it attended three call outs, spending, £11,892.03 on the call outs and any work undertaken to secure land and buildings.

In Dudley, and parts of north Worcestershire including Wyre Forest, there were nine reported call outs, but only two were confirmed as subsidence, costing £13,673.04.

Engineers were called out nine times across Walsall - three of which were found to have been subsidence at a cost of £7,695.92.

Across Wolverhampton, there were 12 reported instances of subsidence, with three confirmed, which were costing £69,265.17 in fees and repair work.

In Staffordshire, there were 21 call outs, with 10 confirmed costing the authority £53,926.07.

Coal Authority corporate manager, John Delaney, said: "The costs are associated with remediating the events for which we are called out and for the remediation of subsidence damage to property which we undertake."

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Despite paying for repairs the authority has refused all 32 claims for compensation from land and homeowners it had received in 2013/14 - although it would not reveal the reasons why.

The body paid out £400,000 in claims between 2010 and 2013.

The authority today remained tight-lipped on the reasons why it had refused the latest set of claims over the last 12 months.

Subsidence above the deep shafts and chambers can cause cracks to appear in homes and public buildings.

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In the past buildings including Bilston Museum and Art Gallery were affected and it closed temporary for safety work.

The fragile ground even contributed to the cancellation of a popular firework display held in Hickman Park in Bilston in 2010.

Residents and business owners in coal mining areas can make claims for subsidence damage to the authority. Depending on where the land is, responsibility for dealing with the claim rests either with a mining company or the authority itself.

Compensation can be paid out to people for reasons including surveyors fees and to costs incurred by the landowners for buildings which have been damaged by subsidence.

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