Gas firm reveals £70m plan to upgrade mains in Lancashire this year

Gas infrastructure firm Cadent has said it will invest £70m upgrading gas mains in the region this year, securing work for 600 people and building towards a greener energy future.

By Tim Gavell
Tuesday, 5th April 2022, 3:30 pm

Every year, Cadent replaces around 1.5 per cent its 34,000km North West underground pipe distribution system. These are mostly ageing metallic mains nearing the end of their safe operating lives, some 100 years old.

The work is part of a bigger programme taking place over 30 years, and which is due to finish in 2032.

Upgrading to plastic ensures a long-term safe network and also means keeping everything on track to replace fossil gas with hydrogen, to meet energy demands in ways that protect the planet more.

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Cadent is set to spend £70m replacing gas mains this year in the North West

The mains replacement programme confirmed for the year April 2022 to March 2023 includes more than 51,342m of gas mains in central and west Lancashire and 450,000m across the North West region.

This is the same length as more than 4,300 football pitches, or the same height at more than 2,800 Blackpool Towers.

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Cadent said it will work with the local highways authorities to agree the best and least disruptive timings to carry out these essential upgrades.

Cadent said the work will safeguard 600 jobs

Part of the programme also involves replacing the individual ‘service’ pipes of 50,000 properties. This involves no cost for the customer. Cadent will make all the arrangements and give advance notice of when this will happen.

Craig Horrocks, who heads Cadent’s gas mains upgrade work in the region, said: “More than 80 per cent 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 of the year.

“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.”