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Investigating the influence of settlement pattern and morphology on the sterilisation of shallow coal resources

Bee, E.J.; Noakes, L.. 2010 Investigating the influence of settlement pattern and morphology on the sterilisation of shallow coal resources. Nottingham, UK, British Geological Survey, 58pp. (CR/10/043N)

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Abstract/Summary

This report assesses the impact of introducing separation zones around urban areas on shallow coal resources. It also provides an assessment of settlement pattern using spatial statistics and an evaluation of settlement morphology (i.e. physical form or shape) based on a pre-existing density profile methodology. Two study areas have been selected for comparison: the Midlands Coalfield (comprising shallow coal resource within the Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire and North Derbyshire Coalfields) and the South Wales Coalfield. The analysis conducted in this report shows that the settlement pattern within the South Wales Coalfield study area is generally more clustered, and settlements tend to be elongate (or linear) in morphology. This is a result of the topography (steep sided valleys) in this area. In contrast, settlements in the Midlands Coalfield study area are more nucleated, or equidimensional, in morphology and more evenly dispersed over the study area. The research shows that settlement morphology can influence the size of the area of a separation zone. Settlements which are elongate are likely to have larger separation zones (in area) than equivalent sized settlements which are more equidimensional in morphology. The research also shows that the relative effect of a 500 m separation zone around urban areas in the South Wales Coalfield increases the influence of the urban area by 659.6 % (i.e. from 169.74 km2 to 1119.61 km2). This is significantly higher than in the Midlands Coalfield study area, where the influence of the urban area when a 500 m separation zone is applied increases by 402.8 % (i.e. from 496.49 km2 to 1999.75 km2). Of the two study areas, the greatest overall impact on the sterilisation of shallow coal resources from urban development is seen within the Midlands Coalfield study area. This is not a consequence of the contrasting settlement patterns; rather it results from the greater proportion of urban areas within the Midlands Coalfield. Urban development encompasses 496.49 km2 (17.2 %) of the Midlands Coalfield whereas in South Wales, urban development encompasses 169.74 km2 (6.7 %) of the study area. Of the total urban development within each study area, a greater amount lies within the surface extent of shallow coal resource in the Midlands Coalfield (423.17 km2 or 85.2 %) than in the South Wales Coalfield study area (86.14 km2 or 50.7 %). The effect, therefore, of placing a separation zone of 500 m around urban areas within the Midlands Coalfield is that a greater amount (1727.85 km2 or 72.2 %) of the total surface extent of the shallow coal resource is sterilised than in the South Wales Coalfield study area (563.28 km2 or 52.8 %). The study concludes that a number of factors influence the area of a separation zone and thus the amount of shallow coal resource sterilised from urban development: 1. The distribution (settlement pattern) of settlements within the coalfield. 2. The shape of an individual settlement (settlement morphology). 3. The extent of the urban area lying within the coalfield. However, given two study areas with equally distributed and sized urban areas, the morphology (shape) of the urban settlements may have greatest influence on the size of the separation zone. This could explain why settlements within the South Wales Coalfield have a greater relative impact on separation zone area than settlements in the Midlands Coalfield.

Item Type: Publication - Report (UNSPECIFIED)
Programmes: BGS Programmes 2010 > Minerals and waste
ISBN: 9781409828747
Funders/Sponsors: Great Britain. Department for Communities and Local Government
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: This report made open by author October 2012.
Related URLs:
Date made live: 02 Oct 2012 09:15
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/19813

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