Author Topic: Cornwall access  (Read 1298 times)

Offline ILT

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Cornwall access
« on: November 01, 2017, 08:49:18 am »
I thought this was more caving than 'idle chat'.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cornwall-41817589

To my mind a foolish person went away from his actual path to a dark opening and went in without any real thought about risks. Endangered himself and potentially tens of other people.

Offline Badlad

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Re: Cornwall access
« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2017, 01:05:41 pm »
Well, indeed.  There are two aspects to this unfortunate incident.

Personal responsibility.  Where would anyone get the impression that it is safe to poke about in and around old mines?

Mines and Quarries Act makes places a clear duty on owners to secure mine sites to prevent people from accidentally falling down them. 'Accidentally' is the key word here and does not necessarily mean a concrete plug or locked gate.


Offline pwhole

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Re: Cornwall access
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2017, 01:23:27 pm »
A problem we've also had to deal with in Derbyshire, with abandoned mining-related holes on NT Access Land. Trouble is, the NT don't know where most of them are either, making it very difficult for them to fulfil their responsibilities. Working on one site for a long time has meant we've been able to log quite a few, and we'll be giving them a list of grid refs so that they can be inspected. Cavers liaising with them will also hopefully preserve safe access, rather than just blocking. So 'accidental' discovery, by someone falling in, is obviously in everyone's interests to be avoided.

The responsibility issue is also very relevant through, as a person gaining access to an entrance they've discovered safely must also make the decision beforehand whether it's a worthwhile risk. Blaming the landowner isn't enough, as they could have just not entered, removing the risk entirely. Having seen some of the people accessing the land around Castleton, I'm always stunned to see how little preparation some folks have for dealing with a very high 45° slope of slippery grass and limestone beddings, with a public road or footpath at the bottom - not including the hidden holes they might be crossing. We recently found a dead sheep at the bottom of Cowlow, and the skid mark from the top of the hill to the bottom was obvious. When we got to the top, it was clear that it had just lost its footing on an outcrop, and down it went.

Offline Simon Wilson

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Re: Cornwall access
« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2017, 01:26:17 pm »
Surely the landowner is responsible and at fault here if what the article says is true.

I was on Fountains Fell recently and the mines up there are really dangerous. They are very close to the Pennine Way and on Access Land and the fences are rotten with sections missing. There are warning signs but in mist and/or snow the signs could easily be missed and anybody could walk into a vertical shaft. They need to be adequately fenced.

Who is responsible on Access Land?

Offline royfellows

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Re: Cornwall access
« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2017, 02:45:10 pm »
I know this place.

There are vertical gunnis's immediately adjacent to the coast path and people wonder in to use them as a toilet, or out of simple curiosity. At least 2 have vertical drops in the floor, one to water.

There are no warning notices or anything, a simple barrier and notice would suffice. A barrier low enough for a determined person to climb over would fulfil legal obligations and keep the exploration community happy and bolt cutters away.
Looking forward to NAMHO 2019. www.cambrianmines.co.uk

Offline mrodoc

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Re: Cornwall access
« Reply #5 on: November 01, 2017, 05:48:57 pm »
They will have their work cut out. There are plenty of mines and adits in the Cot Valley area of St. Just. Just  how this chap managed to fall down one beats me. Surely anybody with a brain would know they were in a mines area.

Offline AR

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Re: Cornwall access
« Reply #6 on: November 01, 2017, 08:57:06 pm »
Surely the landowner is responsible and at fault here if what the article says is true.

I was on Fountains Fell recently and the mines up there are really dangerous. They are very close to the Pennine Way and on Access Land and the fences are rotten with sections missing. There are warning signs but in mist and/or snow the signs could easily be missed and anybody could walk into a vertical shaft. They need to be adequately fenced.

Who is responsible on Access Land?

In the case of Fountains Fell, they're coal mines and hence the Coal Authority's responsibility - if the fences are in need of repair then contact them and let them know as they're pretty keen on keeping the public away from old coal mines.

Otherwise, there is a duty on the landowner or tenant to make safe any mine entrances on their land, particularly if it's publicly accessible although local councils can get involved if an abandoned mine can be considered a public nuisance - in Derbyshire, the county council will cap shafts if they're within 50 yards of a public right of way.
Dirty old mines need love too....

Offline Disgusted from Cornwall.

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Re: Cornwall access
« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2017, 09:09:23 pm »
I had the BBC on the phone about this and the guy was hellbent on making a sensational story about it. I told him that I would not put my name to anything which I had not either written myself, or marked myself, so they got Allen Buckley instead.

This has the potential (in the spirit of the media dog having a stick) to stir up problems. Whilst there are dozens and dozens of mines on the coast path, virtually none of them have obvious walk in access and even less have holes in the floor. Sadly, Hermon was a disaster waiting to happen. It does need a grille of some sort really.

Operation Minecap did not extend to Penwith and it appears that whilst NT and the authorities have grilled nasty holes at St Just United and dodgy adits, Hermon was a disaster waiting to happen. Wheal Bozand adit is pretty full on as well. A sign will suffice.

There isn't enough money for a minecap mk2 and since Brexit, there is unlikely to be loads of EU money sloshing around either.

I am going to tap up the chap at the council, purely because the BBC have poked him and he is coordinating things. It needs several large pinches of salt IMO. One thing we don't need is hysterical people winding up the council and the eager consultants with pound signs in their eyes recommending concrete everything.

The most dangerous gaps down there are the local hare lip gang.

Offline nickwilliams

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Re: Cornwall access
« Reply #8 on: November 01, 2017, 09:36:12 pm »
For future reference if this thread comes up in searches, the following link takes you to the Derbyshire County Council policy on capping disused mineshafts shafts which was drawn up in consultation with DCA:

http://www.derbyshire.gov.uk/environment/land_premises/mines/default.asp

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Offline Bob Mehew

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Re: Cornwall access
« Reply #9 on: November 01, 2017, 10:18:10 pm »
Section 151 of the 1954 Mines & Quarries Act places a duty to "secure that the surface entrance to every shaft or outlet thereof is provided with an efficient enclosure, barrier, plug or other device so designed and constructed as to prevent any person from accidentally falling down the shaft or from accidentally entering the outlet and that every device so provided is properly maintained".  If the entrance is not so secured, then the act goes on to specify that the entrance can be declared as a statutory nuisance and measures taken to safeguard the entrance with the costs being recoverable.

Offline tamarmole

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Re: Cornwall access
« Reply #10 on: November 01, 2017, 11:30:08 pm »
Section 151 of the 1954 Mines & Quarries Act places a duty to "secure that the surface entrance to every shaft or outlet thereof is provided with an efficient enclosure, barrier, plug or other device so designed and constructed as to prevent any person from accidentally falling down the shaft or from accidentally entering the outlet and that every device so provided is properly maintained".  If the entrance is not so secured, then the act goes on to specify that the entrance can be declared as a statutory nuisance and measures taken to safeguard the entrance with the costs being recoverable.

M&Q Act 1954 is no longer in force, it has been superseded by the Mines Regulations 2014.

Offline Bob Mehew

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Re: Cornwall access
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2017, 07:48:52 am »
M&Q Act 1954 is no longer in force, it has been superseded by the Mines Regulations 2014.
Sorry but the regs did not revoke the whole of the M&Q Act.  It left a few bits including Sec 151, see Schedule 3 of the regs at http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/l149.pdf.

Offline royfellows

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Re: Cornwall access
« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2017, 09:41:03 am »
and Statutory Nuisance can vary from area to area depending on the local authority policy. I know of an appalling example of completely open shafts on unenclosed land within a stones throw of a tarmac public road.
Someone could get out of their car, walk about 50 feet for a pee, and down they go.
You wont catch any locals walking their dogs on there!
Looking forward to NAMHO 2019. www.cambrianmines.co.uk

Offline tamarmole

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Re: Cornwall access
« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2017, 10:14:15 am »
M&Q Act 1954 is no longer in force, it has been superseded by the Mines Regulations 2014.
Sorry but the regs did not revoke the whole of the M&Q Act.  It left a few bits including Sec 151, see Schedule 3 of the regs at http://www.hse.gov.uk/pubns/priced/l149.pdf.

You are right, I stand corrected.