The Mining Reports System (MRS) is an electronic dataset which identifies and records information on coal mining in England, Scotland and Wales. It contains details of past, current and future coal mining activity, underground and on the surface. It was used to provide information for mining reports, in response to enquiries from prospective property purchasers or land developers who want to purchase land in a coal mining area in Great Britain.
The system also kept records of these enquiries: information on the enquirer, their address and related information provided by licensees, for example work currently taking place, and works proposed over a period of time, up to 10 years.
This series includes a 1998 snapshot of the Mining Reports System (MRS) and holds records that show the history and development of this system. The MRS was the first attempt to automate the process of providing coal mining searches, begun in 1947 by The National Coal Board (NCB) and continued the by British Coal Corporation. Initially the process had involved teams of mining surveyors consulting local mining plans held at regional offices. However, this methodology was time-consuming and expensive partly because the plans were drawn at a variety of scales and were often inconveniently sized; but also because they were held at scattered locations. In 1979 it was recognised that information required to produce a coal mining report could be captured and computerised. If captured data could be easily accessed and interrogated, then the process could be automated - not only saving time, but reducing human error. The Mining Reports System (MRS) was launched locally in 1985 and established nationwide by 1989. At the same time, the Law Society Scheme for Coal Mining Searches was established as the standardised consultation procedure for property transactions in coal mining areas. The MRS accordingly subsequently provided coal mining reports in response to enquiries made under this Scheme.
The original 1989 Law Society Scheme for Coal Mining Searches comprised guidance notes, a directory of towns and parishes affected by coal mining, and two forms for coal mining enquiry: Con29M Standard and Con 29M Special. The Standard form was intended to be used principally for domestic property; the Special form was intended as a supplementary form for non-domestic property, significant property development, or in cases where a claim against the former NCB/British Coal was being contemplated.
The MRS ran in conjunction with the Surface Damage System (SDS) which contained all the details on a claim and how the claim was settled. External assessors were employed to deal with subsidence damage claims, and all claims were classed as confidential. During 1996-1997, an automated property location system called FTAPL was added, to deal with requests for mining reports. This system integrated with digital map data from the Ordnance Survey and thus provided a capablility for using a Geographical Information System (GIS).
The capture of the 1998 MRS snapshot coincided with the migration of both the MRS and the SDS information into a new system called the Mining Reports and Surface Damage System (MRSDS). This is a GIS system which produces mining reports, and enables the user to look at properties in the context of any relevant mine workings by viewing information from all the relevant original mining plans in the system, against modern Ordnance Survey map data. The system computes 3-dimensional underground mining activity information from raw 2-dimensional mine workings extent data coupled with depth information. The resulting 3-dimensional data, when integrated with surface land height data, allows the user to assess the surface land areas which may be affected by individual and overlapping underground workings.
The legacy Surface Damage System (SDS) has not been selected for permanent preservation, since any relevant legacy information will be captured by the new Mining Reports and Surface Damage System (MRSDS). The MRSDS is still in use by the Coal Authority's Mining Reports Service.
The datasets in this series are available to download. Links to individual datasets can be found at piece level.