I read Arthur Keaton’s letter in the Chad of February 10 with dismay (read Mr Keaton’s letter here). I am a retired solicitor and have lived in Warsop for a mere 48 years.
In 1988 I represented a number of residents at Old Church Warsop at The Parish Centre, Warsop to discuss the original planning application for the tipping of colliery spoil on Cuckney Hill. At that meeting I arranged for Mr Setchel, a geologist, to give expert evidence concerning the instability of ground conditions on Cuckney Hill, and in particular about Mr Setchel’s fear of slippage down the south face of Cuckney Hill towards Old Church Warsop. The local population could not afford a full geological survey of the site.
However such a survey was later carried out by the National Coal Board, but this could not and did not extend to areas of land which were already covered by colliery spoil tips. Mr Setchel’s own survey concentrated mainly on the railway cutting at the top of Cuckney Hill.
It is perhaps significant that no actual tipping has ever taken place in this railway cutting. It is perhaps also significant that the original proposal to tip further to the south was also abandoned. In 2001,
UK Coal Mining Limited made a fresh application for planning permission for the disposal of colliery spoil by raising the height of the existing tip and extending the area for tipping.
I advised Nottinghamshire County Council of the geological state of the ground.
Planning permission was granted to raise the height of the tip above Meden Vale where tipping had already taken place before 1988, but no planning permission was granted to extend the area for tipping beyond the existing site in any direction.
The ground in the Warsop area is unstable, and has been made more unstable by deep coal mining.
We all, including Mr Keaton, know about the structural damage to numerous properties in the Warsop area caused by coal mining subsidence and other factors.
In recent years the River Meden at Gleadthorpe has subsided, creating a lake haven for waterfowl and other bird life. It is within my own personal knowledge that there is an impermeable layer of rock below the surface on the south side of Cuckney Hill.
Mr Setchel’s geological report states that immediately below the impermeable clay layer there is a layer of marl which can cause slippage.
From time to time water oozes out into gardens. The oozing is not constant and only occurs about once or twice a year and then not always in the same place.
When the fields on Cuckney Hill were used for arable farming, farm machinery frequently became stuck in the mud. When the water table is high, open graves at Warsop Cemetery can become flooded. Residents at Meden Vale have complained about “stress fractures” which they put down to the weight of the existing spoil on the ground.
This may, or may not, be the case.
Trees were planted on the south side of Cuckney Hill to help with the drainage problems.
These have recently been removed to make way for the new solar farm.
Warsop is the last place in England were fracking should take place. Unlike Oxfordshire, and even parts of Nottinghamshire, Warsop has no political clout. Hence this letter.
When further interference with the subsurface takes place, caused by fracking, and the pit tip and solar farm both fall down into Meden Vale and Warsop, I hope someone will remember this letter.