Local Authorities cannot permit surface development without giving due weight to what is known, or can be conjectured about the stability of the site with regard to underground workings. Part of these underground workings are the shafts and adits leading into them. Developers should be anxious to locate the surface entrances to such shafts and adits, because the possibility that they might collapse leaves the present and future stability of the site uncertain.
The records of old mine shafts. In 1873, it became the statutory duty of the owners of mines to send plans of the boundaries of abandoned workings to the Secretary of State (Maxwell 1964). These plans should include the position of the shafts. Unfortunately, there are few plans in existence of the workings of almost 4 000 million tonnes of coal, ironstone and other economic deposits abandoned before 1873. The reason for the absence of such plans is that until 1873, there was no statutory duty for the owner of a mine, other than of coal or ironstone, to make a plan of the workings. Plans of the workings of coal-mines date from 1850, and or ironstone mines from 1860.
In all there should be three plans of the workings of a mine. The working plan and the abandonment plan made by the mine owner, and a working plan kept by the mineral owner. Following an appeal for the deposition of old working plans in 1925, many of them, pre-dating 1873, have been catalogued. A further appeal