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Monday, 30 July, 2001, 13:25 GMT 14:25 UK
Mines blamed for housing collapses
Homes demolished
Many homes have been demolished
An inquiry into land subsidence in Edinburgh has concluded that collapses in 200-year-old mine workings were to blame.

The subsidence, which first appeared in the capital's Ferniehill area last autumn, spread to Moredun Park and homes in the Gilmerton area.

Hundreds of people were evacuated as dangerous structural problems began appearing in homes.

A report by engineers into the problem has concluded that the problem has now tailed off but it recommends that no further building work be undertaken.

Examining the scene at Ferniehill
The council called in engineers at Ferniehill
More than 30 homes in the Ferniehill area have been demolished since subsidence first appeared last October.

In the months that followed 150 people were evacuated from another 52 properties as the problem spread to nearby Moredun Park.

Safety fears surfaced again in March this year when subsidence began to affect properties in Hyvots Bank.

Residents in 141 properties in the area were told they would have to evacuate their homes by the end of June.

Ineffective pillars

Edinburgh City Council launched an official inquiry to identify the cause and scale of the problem in the city's south side.

After drilling 44 bore-holes and conducting tests, engineers have now decided the subterranean failures were caused by the large amount of material originally extracted from mine works.

Their report also blames the relatively ineffective support pillars left in place, their solubility and the flooding of mine chambers in the second half of the 20th century.

Sheila Gilmore, council
Sheila Gilmore: "Unexpected"
It concludes that movement has now tailed off but warns that because there is the potential for more, no construction should be done in the area.

Similar investigations are continuing on other affected sites in south Edinburgh.

An early report on the East Kilngate area has reached similar conclusions and recommends strengthening work.

These proposals will be discussed with local people at a public meeting.

Sheila Gilmore, from Edinburgh City Council, said: "From the time someone said there was a few houses suffering subsidence problems to the current situation was totally unexpected in terms of both the length of time it has taken and the number of houses involved."

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 ON THIS STORY
Nigel Robson reports
"It has been recommended not to build any further in the area"
See also:

22 Mar 01 | Scotland
Hundreds face city evacuation
01 Mar 01 | Scotland
Capital evacuations get under way
01 Mar 01 | Scotland
City clearance deadline extended
15 Dec 00 | Scotland
Residents flee sinking homes
22 Nov 00 | Scotland
Subsidence inquiry launched
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