In the pipeline: details of £50m upgrade for North West’s gas mains network during 2021/22

in your area

  • Details of 2021/22 NW programme, broken down by local authority area
  • £50m invested, 485km of pipes upgraded, work secured for 600 engineers
  • Helps get the local gas network ready for introduction of greener gases
Details of a programme to upgrade the North West’s oldest gas mains – some of which were installed over 100 years ago – are published today, as the region’s gas network gets ready to begin 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 mostly ageing metallic mains nearing the natural 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 485,178 metres of gas mains in the North West region [see table below for a breakdown by local authority area].
This is the same length as more than 4,600 football pitches, or the same height at more than 3,000 Blackpool Towers. It is almost double the distance, as the crow flies, from the middle of Manchester to central London.  
And it represents at least £50m investment in the North West gas network, with more than 600 engineers employed to deliver the work.
Cadent has been working with the highways authorities to agree the best and least disruptive timings to carry out these essential upgrade.
Details have also been shared with local councils and other groups.
Letters are sent to properties in the vicinity of the work areas in the weeks leading up to start dates.
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 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 Craig Horrocks, who heads Cadent’s gas mains upgrade work in the region.
“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.”
Among the larger schemes due to start in April include (starting 6th April, unless stated otherwise)
  • Clifton Drive and St Patrick’s Road, Lytham
  • Victoria Avenue, Blackley
  • Ormston Avenue, Horwich (19th April)
  • Lower Lane, Walton
  • Preston Road and Chorley Old Road, Chorley
  • Derby Lane, Liverpool (28th April)
  • London Street, Fleetwood
  • Sagars Road, Handforth (14th April)
Start dates for the remaining works will be agreed through 2021/22.
Gas remains ON throughout the work, 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 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 operates four of the UK’s eight gas distribution networks. As well as North West England, it manages the networks for the 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 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 (

Cadent’s 2021/22 gas mains upgrade programme – North West

Metres of gas mains to be upgraded, by local authority area
Barrow in Furness 8328
Blackburn with Darwen 11062
Bolton 24016
Burnley 12365
Chorley 10171
Ellesmere Port and Neston 2431
Fylde 14347
Halton 14579
High Peak 11853
Hyndburn 3623
Knowsley 10591
Lancaster 4856
Liverpool 20315
Macclesfield 6450
Manchester 40052
Oldham 13092
Pendle 4153
Preston 12889
Ribble Valley 1714
Rochdale 19044
Rossendale 2005
Salford 11508
Sefton 39331
South Lakeland 5063
South Ribble 12045
St Helens 12319
Stockport 16593
Tameside 7674
Trafford 23656
Warrington 17722
West Lancashire 1337
Wigan 12784
Wirral 47658
Wyre 8986
TOTAL 485178

Further information is at


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.

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