Damages case sets precedent

Judgment is now pending in a case of considerable significance to owners of property which has suffered subsidence damage and is located in defunct mining areas. The Court of Appeal has been asked to decide whether damages for depreciation in the value of a property caused by mining subsidence can be claimed under the Coal Mining (Subsidence) Act 1957. The appeal is against a Lands Tribunal decision in March 1998 that it had no power under the Act to make such an award. The tribunal decision followed an insurance-backed claim over a subsiding bungalow at Warrington in Cheshire, which it is alleged suffered subsidence after British Coal Corporation withdrew support of the property after mining activity ceased in 1991. And it is alleged that the property was worth u115,000 in good order, but that its value plummeted to u40,000 as a result of the subsidence damage.