West Midlands’ gas network Cadent moved to allay worries in Uttoxeter today after a sudden surge in reports of a smell of gas across a wide area.
The gas emergency service number (0800 111 999*) took 15 separate calls over a 24-hour period yesterday, on top of other calls in the days before.
Encouraging people to continue to ring in such smells – as any one of these could be a legitimate, unrelated gas escape – Cadent confirmed today that the ultra-sensitive detection kit its engineers carry has found nothing that would cause such a widespread release of gas from the underground or above ground natural gas infrastructure in the town.
Specialist vehicles, which carry equipment that can detect very small traces of gas, will again be out on the roads of the town today to seek to identify any leaks from the gas networks.
Checks are also being carried out on the underground gas mains close to particular high concentrations of calls received.
Andy Bates, network engineer for the area at Cadent, said: “This sort of thing happens occasionally. We get calls that people can smell gas, across a wide area, but we can’t find a gas leak on the network that would be causing it.
“So far, our extensive checks – using equipment that would detect very small traces of natural gas, if it was there – has found nothing to cause concern.
“What’s so important though is that people DO NOT dismiss any smell of gas as connected to this. We would encourage everyone, if they think they smell gas, to report it immediately to 0800 111 999 so we can check it out and make sure everything is safe.”
Although the teams will continue their checks, the source of the smell may never be known. Previous incidents like this have been traced to industrial or chemical plants venting gases into the atmosphere, while other incidents have been traced to fuel spillages or leaks on sewers.
Cadent is the gas emergency service and guardian of the massive underground gas mains network that distributes gas to millions of homes across the West Midlands.
The 0800 111 999* gas emergency number is manned 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. It is there to provide a rapid response to safety-related gas emergencies only (i.e. potential gas leaks inside or outside a property, as well as suspected carbon monoxide).
*Calls are recorded and may be monitored