Nenthead Mine Water Treatment Scheme - Supporting Reports and Surveys

Closes 31 Dec 2024

Opened 31 Dec 2021

Overview

We have completed a number of investigations to help us better understand the need for a scheme and the potential impacts of a treatment scheme on the local area, wildlife and environment.

We have also included documents that show the design process. Reports that refer to site 101 are those referring to the current site for the Nenthead mine water treatment scheme proposals.

Here we have provided a summary of the work we have carried out alongside links to the reports and documents.

River Characteristics

Since 2014 the Environment Agency have collected data from a number of sample points in the Nent catchment. These samples are collected to help identify the most polluting sources and to provide a baseline dataset.
 

This report was produced by the Environment Agency in 2014 to analyse and summarise sample point data and help us understand the impact of metal pollution on the Nent catchment.
The report can be viewed and downloaded below.

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This report was produced by the Environment Agency in 2015 to analyse and summarise sample point data and help us understand the impact of metal pollution on the Nent catchment.
The report can be viewed and downloaded below.
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In 2018 a third report was produced by the Environment Agency to analyse and summarise this data, although this report focused mainly on new sample points.
The report can be viewed and downloaded below.
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Map showing locations of routine water quality sample point locations used by the Environment Agency along Nent. Samples are collected monthly and are used to identify the most polluting sources and guide where work should be considered to reduce metal input.
The map and sample point details are available to view and download below. Data is available at environment.data.gov.uk or a direct link is here.
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Site Selection

In 2018, the Coal Authority carried out a feasibility assessment of three potential sites (sites 23, 100 and 101) for locating a mine water treatment scheme. The assessment considers the topography, statutory utilities, access, flooding potential, ecology, public rights of way, and heritage of each site. The report concludes that site 101 (Nenthead Mines site) offers the best opportunity to develop a mine water treatment scheme for the Caplecleugh adit.
The full report is available to view and download below.
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Design and Development

In 2019, we asked consultants Soil Engineering to survey and report on the subsurface ground and groundwater conditions at Site 101. Field work to support the report was completed on site during September 2019.
The full report is available to view and download below.
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In 2018, we asked consultants AECOM, to carry out a review of accessible information, including historical maps and geoenvironmental data on and surrounding Site 101. This was used to develop potential developmental constraints and hazards, and these have been targeted during later ground investigation works. The survey report was completed in March 2019 using data collected between December 2018 and February 2019. The full report is available to view and download below.
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In 2019, we asked AECOM to continue the work to look at the geotechnical make up of site 101 and complete Phase 2 of the Geo Interpretative survey. The survey assessed in more detail the ground conditions and various locations across Site 101, and gathered data to support the submission of an outline planning application. The full report is available to view and download below.
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This report assesses the options for the potential number of ponds, layout and depths as part of a proposed treatment scheme.
The full report is available to view and download below.
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This is a link to the online version of a survey of the Nenthead mines area for the WAMM Programme by Droneflight (sub-contractor of AECOM) in 2022.
The survey was carried out to capture the topography of the site along with detailed aerial photographs. This information is essential for engineers to develop the designs for the proposed mine water treatment scheme. It will also allow us to understand where metal-contaminated mine wastes are being eroded into the river and causing pollution. The precision of the topographical survey means that designs can be developed to within a couple of millimetres of accuracy. All data collected for the survey was captured within the terms of Droneflight Ltd Operational Authorisation from the CAA or under the CAA Open Category A3. Permission from landowners was obtained for access to take off and landing locations. The RAF were also informed of the flights before they were undertaken to deconflict any low flying operations in the area.

Process Design

This report was commissioned in May 2017 to support the development of the Nent Haggs mine water treatment scheme. The report, produced by AECOM reviews a range of different active, passive and hybrid treatment technologies. The information has been used to inform the best option for a treatment scheme at Nenthead.
The full report can be viewed or downloaded below.
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In 2021 we asked AECOM to evaluate the potential odour impact of the proposed mine water treatment scheme at Nenthead including odour dispersion modelling. It includes standard and worst case scenario models based on a two pond scheme with a reedbed. If the proposed layout and design changes from the two ponds and reedbed evaluated in this report, then the odour dispersion modelling will need to be repeated.
The full report can be viewed or downloaded below.
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Environment and Heritage

In 2018, we commissioned AECOM to complete a series of Ecology surveys and assessments to inform of any ecological constraints to development of a mine water treatment scheme at the site. The Coal Authority obtained this report in November 2021.
The report includes a preliminary ecological assessment and an extended Phase 1 Habitat survey to identify ecological features within the site. The surveys considered the impact of a scheme on amphibians, upland birds, water voles, vegetation, reptiles, bat roosts, and otters. It also identified whether there were any other sensitive ecological features that could be affected by any proposed development.
The full report is available to view and download below.
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This report summarises the information we have collected about the impact that metal contamination is having on fish and invertebrate populations in the River Nent. The summary report is available to view and download below.
The detailed reports can be made available but this is just a summary.
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In 2019, we commissioned consultants, AECOM, to set out a broad range of principles on how we will monitor for and record areas of archaeological interest found when completing Ground Investigation works for the Nenthead mine water treatment scheme.
The full report is available to view and download below.
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Planning

This report, completed by the Coal Authority and provides an overview of the local Cumbria County and Eden District Councils’ planning policies that development of a mine water treatment scheme would need to consider as part of gaining planning approval.
The full report is available to view and download below.
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An EIA Scoping report was completed in 2019 and identifies likely significant environmental effects arising as a result of the development of a mine water treatment scheme. It also helps us to determine the priority issues that need to be addressed through further environmental assessments. In addition it provides key stakeholders with an early opportunity to comment on the proposed structure, methodology and content of the Environmental Impact Assessment.
The full scoping report is available to view and download below.
Cumbria County Council's formal response to the scoping report is available here.
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Engagement

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This report was produced by Wilson Sherriff who facilitated the Q&A session on 18 May 2022.
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For more information about the proposed Nenthead Minewater Treatment Scheme, please contact nent@coal.gov.uk

Audiences

  • Businesses
  • Statutory organisations
  • Members of the public
  • Elected representatives, including MPs
  • Local councils

Interests

  • Water quality