Details of a programme to upgrade Fylde’s oldest gas mains – some of which were installed in 1890 – are published today, as the North West network gets ready to start its 2021/22 programme.
Every year, Cadent replaces around 300 to 350 miles of its 21,000-mile North West underground pipe distribution system. These are the ageing metallic mains nearing the end of their safe operating lives.
Upgrading to plastic ensures a long-term safe network and helps get it ready for the introduction of greener gases like hydrogen and biomethane, which are both essential to the UK achieving net zero carbon emissions.
The programme confirmed for April 2021 to March 2022 includes 14,347
metres of gas mains in the Fylde Borough Council area, mostly in Lytham St Annes.
This is the same length as more than 136 football pitches and more than 90 times the height of Blackpool Tower.
And it represents at least £2.3m investment in the local Fylde gas network.
Cadent has been working with the highways authority (Lancashire County Council) to agree the best and least disruptive timings to carry out this essential upgrade work.
Details have also been shared with Fylde Borough Council, St Anne’s Town Council and other local stakeholders, with letters also been sent to properties in the vicinity of the work areas.
The programme will factor in, and seek to avoid clashing with, any major events that may take place once Covid19 restrictions are lifted.
“More than 80 per cent of homes in Fylde 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 Craig Horrocks, who heads Cadent’s gas mains upgrade work in the North West.
“We’re also excited by the arrival soon of hydrogen to our networks, a zero-carbon gas at point of use, as well as low-carbon biomethane, a gas made from waste.
“Both are essential to the UK reaching its goal to have net zero carbon emissions.
“As our older stock reaches the end of its safe working life, we must replace it.
“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 many excavations.
“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.”
The following work begins in Fylde Borough Council area in April (dates are subject to change):
- 6 April: St Andrew’s Road South – three-way traffic lights required
- 6 April: Osbourne Road – some carriageway incursion, but no traffic management needed
- 7 April: Queen’s Road – some carriageway incursion, but no traffic management needed
- 14 April: York Road – some carriageway incursion, but no traffic management needed
- 14 April: Victoria Road – some carriageway incursion, but no traffic management needed
- 14 April: St Thomas Road – four-way traffic lights required
- 21 April: All Saints Road – some carriageway incursion, but no traffic management needed
Start dates for the remaining works will be agreed through 2021/22.
Gas remains ON throughout the work, although some properties – those which take a direct feed from the pipe being replaced – will lose supply for up to 12 hours, as their building is connected in to the new main. Everyone is given advance notice of this and customer teams will be available to answer any questions.
Cadent in the North West
Cadent's 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 run from Lytham St Annes to Sydney, Australia, and back again.
More than 83 per cent of North West households are heated by gas.
The region was among the first to adopt the use of gas over 200 years ago and is about to lead the way again in a shift away from fossil gas 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, through a Cadent-backed project, HyNet North West