Passing of the torch: New head of gas operations for London


  • James Harrison takes over as National Grid Gas Distribution’s Head of Operations for London
  • Predecessor Phil Clarke retires after seven years in the post and four decades in the gas industry
  • National Grid Gas Distribution network includes world famous locations and supplies over two million customers in the capital


There has been a changing of the guard at the top of National Grid Gas Distribution’s fast paced London Gas Distribution network.


James Harrison, who was previously Head of Operations in National Grid Gas Distribution’s East Area, takes over the London network from predecessor Phil Clarke this week.


His new job involves managing Emergency Response and Repair Operations dealing with reports of gas escapes across National Grid’s London Gas Distribution network. It’s no small task as the network supplies over two million people and includes world famous locations such as Buckingham Palace, Westminster Abbey, the Houses of Parliament and Canary Wharf.


Chartered Engineer James, 39, who holds a degree in Civil Engineering, has worked for National Grid for 18 years.


His previous experience in National Grid Gas Distribution has included working as a supervisor, business analyst, pipelines manager, maintenance network manager. Most recently he has been Head of Operations Emergency Response and Repair, for National Grid Gas Distribution’s East of England of patch, which includes East Anglia and the East Midlands.


He said: “I’m honoured to be working with a strong team to ensure Londoners keep on enjoying safe and reliable gas supplies.


“National Grid Gas Distribution performs a vital role in helping London maintain its status as a leading 21st century city and I’m delighted to be playing a part in that.”


In between managing his busy workload, James serves as Chairman of the Pipeline Industries Guild, where his duties have included hosting Princess Anne at the Guild’s recent 60th Anniversary Dinner.


Married with three children James’ interests outside work include cycling, rock climbing and spending time with his family.


Chartered Engineer Phil Clarke has worked in the gas industry since 1982 and he has been the Head of Operations in London since 2010.


Looking back over his time heading up London Operations Mr Clarke said: “It’s been a real honour to be responsible for ensuring a safe, reliable gas supply for Londoners over the last seven years.”


“I’ve had a fantastic team of people around me and it’s been great to see us develop new keyhole technology to help ensure our repairs are delivered with less disruption for the public.”


Phil regards the biggest success of his tenure as developing and implementing a strategic plan for London Gas Emergency Operations and Response during the 2012 Olympic Games.


He said: “It was great to play a part in helping make sure we were ready for one of the biggest events London has ever seen.”


“Fortunately it all went very smoothly but we had to be prepared for every eventuality.”


Phil has also held a wide range of other senior management positions including managing gas terminals and the national gas transmission system.


He now intends to explore opportunities outside National Grid that can use his extensive knowledge and practical operational experience.

This press release relates to Cadent work.  It does not have Cadent branding on it, due to this press release being published prior to 1st May 2017, when this gas distribution business was part of National Grid’s group of businesses.


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. 

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