Cadent to invest £80m to modernise the North West gas network including East Lancashire
Details of the 2023-24 programme to upgrade the North West’s oldest gas mains – some of which were installed over 100 years ago – have been published this week.
Cadent, which manages the region’s gas network, will modernise around 418km of its North West pipeline.
Pendle is to have 8,696m. of mains upgraded, with 3,605m. in the Ribble Valley.
Cadent works with the local highways authorities to agree the best and least disruptive timings to carry out these essential upgrades.
Once start dates have been confirmed, letters are sent to properties impacted ahead of the work starting.
The £80m. investment will be delivered by 600 gas engineers. They will be upgrading vital pipes to plastic to ensure a long-term safe network, as well as remain on track to replace fossil gas with hydrogen. This change is essential to achieve local plans for meeting energy demands in ways that better protect the planet.
These are mostly ageing metallic mains nearing the end of their safe operating lives. The work is part of a bigger 30-year engineering programme, happening across the UK and due to finish in 2032.
“More than 80% of homes in the North West rely on gas for central heating and it’s our job to make sure they get it, safely and reliably, every minute of every day,” said Head of Investment Planning Office (North West) Mark Syers.
“As our older stock reaches the end of its safe working life, we must replace it. We’re also excited by the arrival soon of hydrogen to our networks, which is going to be essential to the North West achieving its targets to reduce carbon emissions.
“In most cases we’re able to insert the new pipe into the old one, a technique that reduces the time of each project and means we don’t have to dig as much.
“It also means an end to what often becomes increasingly-frequent visits – with associated disruption – to repair faults on the older metallic mains, as they start to show signs of age. We know it’s not ideal, but my team is determined to move as quickly as they safely can and get the work done with as little disruption as possible.”