An update on this project was published on 12th July 2023 - you can read the update here
- A new one-mile-long pipeline to be installed, mostly under Ashton Old Road
- £750,000 scheme to ensure thousands of homes are warm in winter
- Keeping the lights on too – as the gas is needed by a power generation site
- Ashton Old Road stays OPEN both ways during the work, with narrower lanes
Major work starts soon to extend Manchester’s underground gas network by around one mile (1,600 metres), to meet rising energy demand as the city grows.
Engineers will install the new pipeline mostly under Ashton Old Road, Openshaw, but also some roads leading off it. All stay open, some with narrower lanes.
The project is due to begin on 24th April
and should finish towards the end of 2023.
Cadent, which manages the area’s local gas network, is investing £750,000 on this scheme and says it is future-proofing for when hydrogen starts to replace natural gas – something that’s key to plans to achieve ‘net zero’ carbon emissions.
Why this work is needed
The work is needed now to ensure there is enough gas to heat 13,500 local homes, as well as hundreds of commercial and industrial sites.
More gas is also needed for a power generation site, which uses gas to drive turbines that create electricity.
This is also a direct response to new developments happening around Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium, which are close to where some existing key gas pipelines and pressure stations are currently situated.
Installing this new pipeline allows that growth to happen without impacting the supply of gas relied on by more than 80 per cent of homes in the local area, for central heating and hot water.
Where the work is taking place
The work starts in Cornwall Street, then heads along Press Street, Whitworth Street and Widnes Street (so, around New Smithfield Market), before moving along the A635 Ashton Old Road towards the city – ending in Clayton Lane South.
The work will be done in stages, with the team backfilling the road as they go.
Ashton Old Road stays OPEN. The road width will be narrowed, but there is space for vehicles to safely pass both ways.
Access to all businesses will be maintained and gas stays ON throughout – there should be no impact to anyone’s gas supply.
Future-proofing the gas network, ready for hydrogen
Mark Syers, Head of Cadent’s Investment Planning Office North West, said: “While our bread and butter is distributing gas into people’s homes, where it’s used for heating, hot water and cooking, we also supply power generation sites.
“There are times in the UK when as much as 50 per cent of electricity comes from such gas-powered plants. Our job is to ensure that gas can be carried in the volumes needed, and safely.
“This part of Manchester has seen major growth in recent years, with more planned, so we’re acting to ensure every home heated by gas gets it on demand.
“Installing the new pipe also helps future-proof this part of the network, as it will be capable of safely carrying hydrogen when that starts to arrive in the North West soon. Hydrogen is key to securing our net zero energy future.
“This is major engineering and has been months in the planning, to ensure it will be done safely and by keeping Ashton Old Road open.”
Advance warning signs will soon be in situ, while customer teams have sent out information to properties in the immediate area around the works, as well as started to visit in person, to explain what is happening.
Contacting Cadent about this project
Customers with questions about this work can contact the team by:
Phone: 0800 090 3071
If you smell gas
If you smell gas during this work, nearby or anywhere, always ring the national gas emergency service immediately, day or night, on 0800 111 999*. Do not delay, or assume it’s related to this work. 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 21,000 miles 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 Manchester to Sydney, Australia, and back again.
Around £800m will be invested in the North West’s gas network over the next five years. This will maintain safe, secure supplies to homes, hospitals, schools, offices and other sites, as well as support the UK journey to net zero carbon emissions.
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 the UK’s net zero future and is set to be introduced at volume in the North West during the 2020s.