This paper presents an examination of the ‘environmental services’ provided by mine wastes in England and Wales. Often perceived as derelict or degraded sites of very little value to society these sites may be protected for their cultural heritage and ecological value.
The properties of mine wastes means that they may pose considerable risks to the environment and human health as well as opportunities for mineral extraction. However, the technologies to remediate or exploit these sites are often disruptive to the landform, spoil materials and vegetation. It is therefore essential to understand what cultural and ecological resources exist on such sites and the services they provide as a way of assessing the impact of any such activities.
Geographical Information Systems has been used to identify the habitats and cultural land uses associated with different mine wastes. This has been supplemented with a literature review to understand the environmental services provided by these sites. This has been used to develop a typology of mine wastes for use by those seeking to evaluate the options for such sites. This is funded by NERC/ESRC through ‘INSPIRE: IN Situ Processes In Resource Extraction from waste repositories’ (Grant Reference NE/L013916/1).
Sinnett, D. (2016, September). Going to waste? The ecological and cultural value of mine wastes. Paper presented at UK-Ireland Planning Research Conference