Hazard

The Impact of Coal Mining

Explore the legacy the UK's once great coal mining industry has left on property and land in Terrafirma's new Infographic. With almost a third of all buildings in the UK underlain by coal mines, over 9000 recorded hazards and a new mining subsidence claim made every week of the year…

SinkholeAlert: Demonstrating Disaster with Data

Exploring the themes behind Sinkholes in the UK

At Terrafirma, understanding the ground is what we do best: Our CEO Tom Backhouse was recently asked to feature in Channel 5’s documentary Sinkholes to provide an expert insight into the roots behind their cause. Inevitably then, when high profile sinkholes such as those at Fontmell Close, in St Albans or in Wednesbury, causing up to six million pounds of damage and evacuating families from their homes, we ask ourselves “can sinkholes be predicted?”.

Over the last few months and years, the experts at Terrafirma have meticulously observed, understood and recorded each sinkhole as they form. Now, armed with this information, Terrafirma is proud to present a new dataset and report feature; ‘SinkholeAlert’, allowing our team to examine the common themes behind these hidden dangers. 

Chalk Mine Collapse at Field Road, Reading, Berkshire

The collapse of a chalk mine in west Reading forced the immediate evacuation of dozens of residents. These residents then suffered for years due to the extensive and drawn out remediation of the affected area, but eventually had their patience rewarded after the works finished and the area declared safe once again.

Sinkhole caused by collapsed Chalk Mine at Pinner Wood School, Harrow, Greater London

A large sinkhole opened in the car park of Pinner Wood School, Harrow, forcing its immediate temporary closure. Geotechnical surveys and site investigations have been commissioned to determine the cause of the collapse and assess the stability of the land.

Sinkhole at New Build Development, Plumstead, London

On the 2nd May 2016 a sinkhole believed to be 60ft deep and 16ft wide opened up on the doorstep of one of Skillcrown Homes new developments within Brickfield Cottages, Plumstead. The result of which led to the establishment of a 25m hazard zone and evacuation of 50 residents by the combined effort of the emergency services and Hexagon Housing, all of which were provided with assistance at a council run rest centre and overnight accommodation by the housing association. Following this, on the 3rd May evacuated residents were reportedly staying with families or in hotels whilst structural engineers looked to secure the site. The result of which, 30 households were returned to normality, whilst 10 awaited contact by Hexagon Housing. The remediation efforts, whether planned, completed or on-going are unknown.  

Sinkhole in Lawrence Square, Gravesend, Kent

In early 2015 at Lawrance Square, Northfleet, Gravesend, Kent – an extended period of subsidence culminating with the appearance of a sinkhole has forced several shops to close and evacuation of 7 sets of council tenants for fears of further subsidence.