West Yorkshire company go digital with surveying and consultancy

For our 2023 New Year Spotlight Building and Construction Review Award we would like to focus on Fennell Green and Bates for its expertise in urban planning surveying, mining engineering services and environmental sustainability. 

Fennell Green & Bates is a surveyor and consultancy company in Wakefield, West Yorkshire offering expert advice throughout the UK on building surveying, mining engineering services and environmental applications. Manager John Carlon tells Building & Construction Review more;

“Our main role is to advise clients on house building, regeneration of brownfield land, building supply from quarries, stabilisation of land affected by mining, legal ownership of land and mineral rights and the regulatory processes affecting their businesses and how these issues can affect their projects and bottom lines.”

Established in 1879 in Wakefield the company originally advised coal and mine owners on the rapid expansion of the Victorian railway system across England and Scotland during the industrial revolution. The company still has archives that date back to more than 140 years of records of mining and industrial uses of land in the West Yorkshire and the rest of the North of England. Since 1947 there have been legal frameworks on how to reclaim derelict and brownfield land from successive Governments and the practice has guided clients on reclaiming land over the past 75 years.

Minerals can be defined as oil, coal and precious metal ores which are held by the State, metal ores such as iron, tin and copper owned by mineral owners, and gravel, limestone, shale and clay that can be owned by the mineral owner or the land owner.

In most of England and Wales it is often difficult to tell what minerals are underground and whose minerals they are and the rights to work them. Mineral rights can be severed from the surface ownership and were not registered until quite recently when mineral ownership was registered with the Land Registry from 2012.

The mineral vendor could reserve the right to ownership despite a separate owner having the surface land title. Fennell Green & Bates is an expert in this area and offers legal expertise on all construction on land so that there is no trespass into mineral bearing land. There are often less restrictions on agricultural farming or road construction as there is minimal soil and excavation into mineral bearing land, however if a customer wanted to source water through deep bore hole drilling or wanted to install a wind turbine then advice should be sought. John explained how Fennell Green & Bates is focussing on mineral rights

“Specific services are mineral rights and how these may affect the development of land since the requirement to register mineral rights from 2012. The interpretation of the ground and what is mineral is crucial and a report on the risk of trespass when excavating sewers, foundations and tanks should be assessed. Mining risk assessments and stabilisation of land through good design can save money as more land that has been previously used or affected by industry and mining is used for housing and commercial development.”

In urban planning brownfield land refers to any previously developed land that is no longer required or in use and at risk of potential contamination with hydrocarbons, asbestos or other materials. An area in which Fennell Green & Bates is planning on focussing further in 2023 is contaminated land advice. In built-up areas for example an industrial site might be closed down and rehoused in a larger facility elsewhere away from other receptors. The land may be redeveloped for housing or commercial use which is a sensitives receptor. The land can contain asbestos, hydrocarbons, high levels of sulphates and metals in the ground from the previous uses over the past 150 years leaving commercial or housing developers in need of thorough professional environmental appraisal.

Advisors at Fennell Green & Bates would assess the site, consider ownership rights, advise on remediation costs design a site investigation strategy and finally advise on which future date a property developer could buy the land and begin building new housing or commercial development.

Pertaining to Yorkshire, Lancashire, Derbyshire and the Midlands this surveyor consultancy firm has a competitive edge with detailed historical knowledge of land usage as John specifies

“Our services are backed up by comprehensive records of projects from the last 75 years and first-hand experience of mining and the effect that it can cause at the surface over periods lasting a few months to over 30 years.” A lot of our work is in former mining areas, particularly the exposed coalfield regions of the UK.

With expertise across a broad range of construction services, the company has a solid holistic understanding of land and mineral legal rights essential for the building industry. Expert advice can be given on many areas including residential building surveys, boundary and topographical surveys, land title searches, coal mining reports, quarry survey audits, waste licensing, land and mineral applications for development, and contamination assessments. This advice and knowledge are indispensable to the planning and building sector, for safe extraction of minerals, metals, construction materials and associated accurate assessments on flood risk and water management associated with climate change.

To ensure a smoother process, throughout 2022 Fennell Green & Bates moved its extensive archive, documentation and filing system to digital storage allowing for a quicker, more efficient service to its customer base. Looking ahead to 2023 the company wants to focus more on rural and farm diversity as farmers and other land owners are discovering that there are minerals beneath the agricultural or land as John highlights

“Some landowners have wealth beneath their feet as well as in the land they cultivate.”

Fennell Green and Bates is a specialist in all things surveying, mining and the environment, and is able to coordinate large scale project management across a wide range of engineering and land development portfolios. With rich, historical archives at its digital fingertips the company is expertly placed to help a diverse range of clients from single self-builds, major quarry restoration schemes, or large remediation earthwork projects to communication with legal representatives, local planning officers and Government departments.

For further information, see the details below.

T 01924255666
M 07483164372

The Old Joiner’s Shop
59 Oakenshaw Lane