A new depot for the company which manages the North West’s huge 21,000-mile piped gas distribution network is now operational in Stockport.
Cadent has taken a 10-year lease on a 26,600sq ft facility on Bredbury Park Industrial Estate, as a base for its operations across a wide area south of Manchester.
As well as ground and first-floor workstations and meeting rooms, the site now houses Cadent’s biggest stores facility in its North West network - from huge reels of yellow polyethylene gas pipes, to the small nuts, bolts and everything else its engineers may possibly need to keep gas flowing safely.
The new facility also provides a modernised home for specialist olfactory (the sense of smell) and rhinology work that Cadent’s teams deliver.
This is part of major investment by the local gas network in its North West bases, ensuring they’re fit-for-purpose long-term to maintain a safe and reliable flow of gas to homes, hospitals, schools, offices and industry, as well as HGV fuel stations.
Cadent is a key enabler of ‘net zero’ ambitions locally, in making sure the infrastructure exists to carry zero-carbon hydrogen instead of fossil gas through its pipes, as soon as the mid-2020s.
Expert opinion is that the UK cannot reach net zero without hydrogen – and the North West is likely to be the first region to use it in high volume.
As well as Stockport, where £650,000 has been invested, Cadent’s Crewe base has recently had a major upgrade, while plans are in the pipeline this financial year for more than £2m improvements to its bases in Walkden, Morecambe, Lostock Hall (Preston), Garston (Liverpool) and Rochdale.
The new Stockport depot – formerly home to facilities management firm Mitie – has been adapted to include, among many other things: electric vehicle charge points, energy efficient lighting, disabled access and a multi-faith room.
“This is a great new facility for my team to work from,” said Jenny Moten, Director of Cadent’s North West Network.
“We perform a vital role, in ensuring energy flows safely to hundreds of thousands of homes and other sites. Investing in new depots, and upgrading our existing sites, is a key part of the long-term strategy to keep us based local to the communities we serve.”
Cadent in North West England
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 networks 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 Stockport to Sydney, Australia, and back again.
More than 86 per cent of Stockport’s households are heated by gas. Stockport had a major role in the early life of the gas industry in the UK – becoming one of the first boroughs to establish a municipal supply, in 1820.
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 (see www.hynet.co.uk