How a Manchester gas leak led to the creation of a 24-metre school cycle track

helping our community

Two engineers called out to repair a gas pipe deep below a school playground in Hulme have built a new cycle track for the pupils.

Pete Young and Brad Cullen were completing the complex repair at St Philip’s CE Primary School when the caretaker mentioned, in passing, that he had a tough job ahead to dig out the track by hand over the summer.

Realising they could help, the pair – who work for local gas network Cadent – brought in a five-ton mini digger and had the track dug out within a few hours, complete with curves and bumps, and weaving around trees.

They then returned at the weekend to add in stones, before arranging for a tarmac surface to be laid – and, just like that, the cycle track was complete, within days.

Sandra Jamieson, Head of School, wrote in to Cadent to praise Pete and Brad and offer her thanks for “the wonderful job” they did.
Mrs Jamieson said: “It was a very generous offer and will make a great deal of difference to our children, many of whom live in flats and have limited exposure to parks and outdoor green spaces. It looks fantastic.”

“For us, it was just really nice to be able to do something for the kids,” said Pete.

“The gas escape was underneath some gym equipment that they’d just put in – two metres below, so quite a deep main to get to and fix.
“We were chatting to the caretaker and he explained that they wanted to create this track. If he’d done that himself, by hand, it would have taken the whole summer, so I had a chat with my manager and we just made it happen.
“It feels really good to have done it.”

Dan Redmond, Customer Operations Area Manager for Cadent, said: “I’m really proud of Pete and Brad for doing this.
“Our team is out and about every day in local communities, keeping the gas network running safely. It’s just part of everyone’s DNA to help if we can and it’s brilliant that they took the opportunity to do that.”

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 34,000km 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 North West England 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’s targets to reduce carbon emissions. 
More than 83 per cent of North West households are heated by gas.
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 a greener energy future and is set to be introduced at volume in the North West during the 2020s (see



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.

Cadent manages the national gas emergency service free phone line on behalf of the gas industry - 0800 111 999*

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Media contacts

Kevin Hegarty

07970 694897