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    £80m investment this year to modernise the North West gas network

    30 April 2024

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    Kevin Hegarty

    mail [email protected]

    Telephone0797 069 4897

    • Details of 2024-25 North West gas mains upgrade programme (see table below)
    • £80m investment will modernise the underground gas network that heats millions of homes
    • Boost to the gas network used by more than 83 per cent of North West homes, and making it greener
    • 420km of pipes to be upgraded this year (2024-25) and work secured for 600 engineers

    Details of the 2024-25 programme to upgrade the North West’s gas mains – some of which were installed over 100 years ago – are published today.

    Cadent, which manages the region’s gas network, will modernise around 420,000 metres of its North West pipeline over the 12 months to 31st March 2025.

    This is the same straight-line distance as Liverpool to Aberdeen. It is also the same length as around 4,000 football pitches, and the same height as more than 2,600 Blackpool Towers.

    The £80m investment will be delivered by 600 skilled 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 greener alternatives, such as biomethane and hydrogen.

    This change is essential to achieve local plans for meeting energy demands in ways that better protect the planet.

    As part of its commitment to keeping customers safe and warm, every year Cadent replaces around 1.5 per cent of its 34,000km North West underground distribution system. 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, which is happening across the UK and is due to finish in 2032.

    Why it's so important to do this

    “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,” said Head of Investment Planning Office (North West) Mark Syers, who leads the team delivering Cadent’s gas mains upgrade work in the region.

    “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.

    Where the work is taking place

    By distance, the ‘top five’ workload areas for 2024-25 are: Wirral (45,793 metres), Manchester (24,697), Liverpool (24,287 metres), Sefton (21,656 metres), and Wigan (20,368 metres). You will find the figures for each of the North West’s local authority areas in the table below.

    Metres of pipe to be upgraded in 2024-25, by local authority area

    Wirral45793
    Manchester24697
    Liverpool24287
    Sefton21656
    Wigan20368
    Bolton19492
    Stockport19090
    Tameside17046
    Warrington16619
    Rochdale15622
    St Helens13525
    South Lakeland12941
    Bury12239
    Ribble Valley10132
    Blackpool9956
    Trafford9042
    Salford8840
    Oldham7787
    Blackburn with Darwen7290
    Vale Royal7264
    High Peak7005
    South Ribble6819
    Burnley6804
    Knowsley6260
    Chorley6226
    Macclesfield6040
    Wyre5490
    Rossendale5408
    Preston5041
    Ellesmere Port and Neston5034
    Barrow-in-Furness5018
    Lancaster4692
    Pendle4538
    North Shropshire4522
    Halton3347
    West Lancashire 3001
    Cheshire West and Chester2820
    Hyndburn2414
    Fylde2314
    Flintshire1394
    Cheshire East830
    Crewe and Nantwich216
    Westmorland and Furness101

    When the work will happen

    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 and Cadent also works to inform the local area through partners and social media.

    Part of the programme also involves replacing individual ‘service’ pipes of tens of thousands of properties at no extra cost for customers. Cadent makes all the arrangements and gives advance notice of when work will happen.

    Gas remains on throughout, although in some cases properties that take a direct feed from the pipe being replaced will lose supply for up to 12 hours, as their building is connected to the new main. Customer teams are available to answer any questions.

    Contacting Cadent about these works

    Customers with questions about these gas mains upgrade works can contact us several ways:
    Phone: 0800 090 3071
    Email: [email protected]
    Online: https://cadentgas.com/contact-us/contact-form-nw

    If you smell gas

    If you smell gas always ring the national gas emergency service immediately, day or night, on 0800 111 999*. Do not delay, or assume it is related to works taking place in your area. It may not be and must be checked.

    Cadent in the North West

    Cadent operates four of the UK’s eight gas distribution networks – North West England, West Midlands, Eastern England and North London.

    Its North West network stretches from the Lake District to Crewe and is home to 34,000km of distribution pipes (most of them underground) and hundreds of above ground installations. If placed end to end, that amount of pipes would stretch from North West England to Sydney, Australia, and back again.

    Around £800m will be invested in the North West’s gas network over the current five-year Ofgem-regulated period. This will maintain safe, secure supplies to homes, hospitals, schools, offices and other sites, as well as support the UK’s targets to reduce carbon emissions.

    More than 83 per cent of North West households are heated by gas.

    Backed by Cadent and many partners, the North West region is set to lead the way in a major shift from fossil gases to hydrogen. Producing only heat and water at point of use, hydrogen is key to a greener energy future. It is set to be introduced at volume in the North West soon, through projects like HyNet (covering large areas of the North West and North Wales), as well as plans advancing in Barrow-in-Furness and Trafford Park

    2024_North-West-MRP-graphic

    Cadent

    Cadent is the UK’s largest gas distribution network with a 200-year legacy.  We are in a unique position to build on strong foundations whilst encouraging the curiosity to think differently and the courage to embrace change.  Day to day we continue to operate, maintain and innovate the UK’s largest gas network, transporting gas safely and protecting people in an emergency.   Our skilled engineers and specialists remain committed to the communities we serve, working day and night to ensure gas reaches 11 million homes from Cumbria to North London and the Welsh Borders to East Anglia, to keep your energy flowing.

    Future of Gas:

    Here at Cadent we support the Government’s plans to reach Net Zero by 2050. That means we’re backing the introduction of hydrogen as a low carbon alternative to natural gas for the future. We know people love the controllability of gas and, with our network already in place, it makes sense to switch to the lower carbon alternative offered by hydrogen, which we believe can keep homes and businesses warm for generations to come.

    Cadent manages the national gas emergency service free phone line on behalf of the gas industry - 0800 111 999*

    Cadent Gas Ltd is owned by a consortium of global investors.

    *All calls are recorded and may be monitored.

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