Pollution control - stythe
also known as: mine gas, stythe.
Information about stythe gas from coal mines and what to do in an emergency
Stythe and Mine Gases
Stythe is a gas which can be formed in former deep coal mines from
the oxidation of the coal and timber left behind. Stythe (or
“Blackdamp”) is a gas which is depleted in oxygen and can cause a
number of health effects, where the oxygen composition is low and
where normal atmospheric air has been displaced in can be
The risk is greatest when there are sharp
drops in atmospheric pressure which can lead to former deep mines
“breathing out” this oxygen depleted gas.
Gases can come to the surface through old access points to the mine
or through cracks and fissures in the underlying rock. Unventilated
downstairs rooms and cellars are particular places where stythe can
There are several other mine gases with other
compositions which can be just as dangerous as stythe, in
particular is “fire damp” or methane which in sufficient
concentrations can be explosive.
IF YOU THINK YOU OR YOUR PROPERTY IS BEING AFFECTED BY MINE
GASES CONTACT THE COAL AUTHORITY - 01623 646 333 (a 24-hour emergency call
The Coal Authority (http://coal.decc.gov.uk/) is a
government body formed when British Coal was dissolved and who own
the vast majority of coal and former coal mines in Great Britain.
They have a statutory responsibility to deal with surface hazards
arising from past coal mining activities, including:
- Gas and water emissions from mine workings
- Collapses of shallow mine workings and mine entries
- Fissures arising from deeper mine workings
- Spontaneous combustion of coal
- Unsealed abandoned mine entries permitting access into old
They produce a leaflet entitled a "homeowner's
guide to surface hazards" which can be download from the
The British Geological Survey also produce an
informative leaflet called "A breath of fresh
air? The unseen dangers of mine gas."
If in doubt contact the emergency services on