Article Business Practice Data Management

Drilling into Coal Authority’s assets

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The Coal Authority was established under the Coal Industry Act 1994. All in situ coal, old mineworkings, current mineworkings and all shaft and adits vested in British Coal are owned by the Coal Authority. As a consequence formal permission is required from the Coal Authority if any of these assets are to be disturbed. Such ‘Permission to enter or disturb Coal Authority mining interests’ will therefore be required for all ground investigations which will intercept any coal seams in the ground.

The Coal Authority charge a fee for the permit based on the size of the site – i.e. £100 per 0.1hectare up to maximum of £2500 for large sites. If such a permit is not obtained then the company undertaking the work would be guilty of a trespass and liable to court action. In situations where a permit is applied for retrospectively the fees are doubled so there would be a potential cost of up to £5000. The requirement has been in place for some time but fees were recently increased significantly.

The application would normally be formally submitted by the client rather than the AGS but the AGS Member would be responsible for advising the client of the requirement for the permit.


Copyright Regulations Potential Loss Risk or a Hidden sources of Revenues

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Every document issued in the pursuit of producing site investigation information is in some way affected by:

Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 2003 SI No. 2498

Many people are unaware of the important changes in the law brought about by the enactment of these regulations in October 2003. The key point of note with respect to site investigation work is the changes in the law regarding the copying of documents for research. This is a key factor in the production of desk studies.

There is useful a document available for download from the Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) at:

It states in this document that:
“..under the old law, copying undertaken for research or for private study was an exception; provided that the copying could be classed as ‘fair dealing’..”

It goes on to say that:
“Under the new law, any copying for research or private study, which is carried out for a commercial purpose, will require prior permission from the copyright owner or a CLA license to permit certain copying.”

Conversely documents produced by business are now better protected and rights to further payments for multiple reproductions of reports are inherently supported more strongly by the change in the law.

There may be exceptions to the regulation where the documents being produced incorporate copies of other works are expressly for the use of a court of law or recognised arbitration body. However, individual circumstances should be checked as there may be case specific exceptions.

The CLA operates a free help line to answer queries about copyright and the need for licenses: 0800 085 6644

Loss Prevention Measures

1. Obtain a copyright license relevant to your business.

2. Where an item is not covered by the license obtain permission to copy from the author, or rights owner.

3. Study CLA guidance in this area.

4. Protect your own copy right, where appropriate.

5. When producing documents consider what reasonable charge you might make for its reproduction in advance of being asked.

6. If you chose to allow reproduction seek legal advice on the reliance others may place on it as a result of you granting permission for copying and distribution.

TC White
Marquis & Lord