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Surface mined coal statistics

This survey, previously known as 'the Opencast Coal Survey', has been renamed to 'Survey of Surface Mined Coal' to better reflect modern methods used to extract shallow coal and align with terminology used by the Coal Authority and the coal extraction industry. The change came into effect for presentation of 2014 data.

The results of the Surface Mined Coal Survey for 2014 are available to download.

View the Surface Mined Coal Survey for 2014 (146 kb, pdf)

View the archive of previous years

Comprehensive statistics on surface mined coal have, in the past, been collected and published by the Planning Officers' Society. This series ceased in 1999. The then Department for Communities and Local Government, the Welsh Government and the Scottish Government agreed that it would be valuable for a summary of opencast coal statistics to be continued. The BGS was asked to undertake this collation in collaboration with the Coal Authority planning authorities with surface mined coal resources in their areas. In addition to dissemination on, the information was also summarised in the annual United Kingdom Minerals Yearbook, also produced by BGS.

The survey received the support of the Planning Officers' Society, the Coal Authority and the Confederation of UK Coal Producers (CoalPro). The BGS would like to acknowledge the help of the Coal Authority and the relevant Mineral Planning Authorities in England, Scotland and Wales for their invaluable assistance in collecting the information for this survey. It will provide a vital input to monitoring Government policies for the development of the nation's shallow coal resources.

This annual survey of the data covered in 2015 individual Mineral Planning Authorities in England, Scotland and Wales. Collation of the data ceased in 2015.

Note: The data may not be totally comprehensive because not all planning authorities have made a return. The tables will be updated if new information is received.