The Terrafirma Ground Report – Natural Perils and Coastal Hazards: What do I need to do next?

The Terrafirma environmental reports such as the ‘Assure’ or the ‘Ground Report’ are market leading environmental reports, designed for homebuyers. The reports will review datasets for contaminated land, flood, ground stability, radon, mining and planning applications amongst other things -to provide homeowners or potential purchasers all the information then need before purchasing a home or property.

Terrafirma Ground Report

So what does it mean when your Terrafirma report flags up a potential risk for Natural Perils or Coastal Hazards, and what do you need to do next?

Natural Ground Perils

Depending on the Terrafirma report you are reading, the assessment of ground stability risks may include the following:


  • Slope movement – Landslides, landslips or rockfall.


  • Coastal Hazards.


  • Natural ground subsidence – such as natural sinkholes.


  • Soluble rock / natural cavities – such as caves or voids that have opened up below the ground surface due to natural processes (such as dissolution and weathering caused by water flow), and


  • Compressible ground / shrink-swell hazard – compressible deposits caused by soft ground conditions such as clayey soils, which can cause the ground to settle – and in some cases to even move upwards (swell). Compressible ground conditions are fairly rare in the southwest of the UK.


So what do I need to do next?

At Slope Stability Southwest we specialise in ground stability advice in Cornwall, Devon and the southwest. We can advise on the risk that is presented to your property (or potential property), and if needed, we can provide a tailored assessment and survey report to provide you with whatever assurances are required by you, your mortgage providers, your insurance or whoever else.


Slope movement – Landslides, landslips or rockfall?

Slope Stability Southwest can provide a range of survey reports and assessments undertaken by a Chartered Engineering Geologist to provide an ultimate assurance against the risk of landslides and rockfall. The survey reports will typically include a detailed desk study assessment of the site to understand the geology, topography and history of the site, followed by a detailed walkover survey assessment.


Old quarries and rock slopes?

There are hundreds of small historic quarries dotted around the landscapes of the southwest. Slope Stability Southwest have a GeoSLOPE Quary Stability Survey report which is designed to assess the stability of rock faces on former quarry sites.

We can also provide stability assessment of natural rock slopes that may be on your property, particularly in coastal area, ranging from the walkover survey report to the full stereographic projection and kinematic analysis.


Coastal Hazards (erosion)?

With climate change and projected increase in sea level, coastal erosion has become a significant concern for property owners and purchasers or properties around the coastline of the southwest. Slope Stability Southwest are experts in understanding how and why coastal erosion occurs, and what coastal areas are most at risk, and what coastal areas are considered to be safe.


Natural ground subsidence and mining

Cornwall and the southwest does not have much in the way of natural ground subsidence, we don’t have much limestone or other bedrock typed that may be subject to chemical or dissolution weathering to cause caves or natural sinkholes.

However, what we do have is historic mining – and lots of it! We know the ancient Greeks and Romans were trading in Cornish copper and tin, and that means we have some 3000 years of mining activity to worry about!  

So while we don’t have to worry too much about natural ground subsidence, it is super important to make sure you get your property properly checked over for metalliferous mining, whether you are in Cornwall, Devon or elsewhere in the southwest.

Give Slope Stability Southwest a call and we will be more than happy to provide advice a recommendations about the relative risks of Natural Ground Subsidence and Mining.


Refer to Terrafirma Environmental Reports and our Services page for more details.