Registered Charity Number: 1037414

Annesley Pipeline.

December 9th, 2018 in News by emily

The Trust has an interest in the Nottinghamshire Coalfield like no other. Over several years we worked with the management of the mining company, surveyors and staff at Annesley Bentinck Colliery looking after all water pollution concerns. We worked on innovative schemes to ensure the drainage from the two sites both from underground and surface drainage had as small an impact as possible.

The owners, Midland Mining encouraged the Trust to look for novel uses of minewater and the pit tips that surrounded the area. We assessed the potentials of the sites; the use of wind to generate power, the use of the water pumped from below ground (1.2 million gallons per day at 27oC) as both a set of resources and opportunities to maintain the operation of the mine and benefit the local community with further diverse employment opportunities. In the late 1990s the government and its main agencies were unable to understand the notion of using minewater, either the heat energy or the water itself. The possibility of trace minerals was laughed at and the development of spar or hydro was thought absurd. The possible storage of CO2 in shafts was laughable.

All these possibilities were raised and accepted as potential new directions for Annesley Bentinck but the one added facility that no other mine in the Nottinghamshire region had was a 17.5 km pipeline between Annesley Colliery and the River Trent was totally ignored by all apart from the mining company, with local authorities and regulators such as Nottingham City Council, the Environment Agency and Coal Authority set against its use going forward even and also after the mine closed. The desire of all was to allow the discharge consent to be revoked and a similar discharge was consented from Radcliffe on Sour power station.

The discharge consent was for the high levels of chlorides that are prevalent in the minewaters of this part of the coalfield. The pumping of these waters was designed to be carried out from Annesley Bentinck Colliery in the 1980s after many of the adjacent pits closed or were under threat of closure. The pumping allowed other pits to be kept open more cost effectively as their pumping volumes decreased.

Prior to the pumping solution being put in place the colliery at Annesley had discharged only modest volumes of water and of itself was considered a dry mine. It had though had periods of near flood in the late 1970s and early 1980s when acid chloride rich waters were accidently freed by other mines closer to the outcrop of the coal in the Derbyshire edge breaking into long abandoned workings and the flows diverted to Annesley. A woodland for many years stood set around a lake at the edge of Newstead Abbey Park that bore testament to these discharges. The trees, dead and collapsing into the marsh that developed out of the lake. It is now nearly forty years on and natural regrowth has change the site again to dry land with one of the feeder streams to the River Lean running through the centre of the wood.

The pipeline that took 1.2 million gallons of water daily to the River Trent still exists. It has been broken in two places where the Nottingham City Council tram line cuts across it, but those are repairable. The Annesley, receiving end was sealed when the pump house was demolished. The Trent end is still open but for how long is a matter that needs to be determined. The desire for jobs and the creation of industry is greatly hindered in the area due to the low spare capacity of the local sewer systems. Water though is available in plenty within the coal seams though not for high user needs of industry from the local sandstone aquifer. There is heat energy available from the mine workings.

All the options for Annesley Bentinck Colliery site that were worked on from wind to heat harvesting are now either being carried out in the area or under consideration by the authorities that shot down the plans in the 1990s. Such is not uncommon! The Clean Rivers Trust has a copy of the plan of the pipeline in its archive that was produced by Annesley Colliery Surveyors in 1999. It is believed to be the only copy in existence. It is available to any who might use it creatively for the benefit of the area and ad its economic renewal.

Author: emily

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