As a golfer, it’s par for the course to expect obstacles and traps as you navigate your 18-hole round. But this summer, the players at one Cheshire club had an extra 22 holes to contend with, and some of those were as deep as 1.5 metres.
Back in January, Cadent, which manages the North West’s gas distribution network, sent its engineers to Altrincham Golf Course, following reports of a smell of gas.
This identified multiple issues with a medium pressure gas main that runs directly underneath the tees, fairways and surrounding areas of the course. This pipe carries gas to much of Altrincham, so is a vital source of energy to heat local homes.
To carry out the repairs, the Cadent teams needed to make 22 separate excavations, some as deep as 1.5 metres.
It was a major challenge, but the golf course and engineers worked together to keep the course open, playable and safe throughout the summer.
“The teams were amazing – really considerate to our golfers at all times,” said Paul Murray, general manager (third from right, in the picture). “We’ve always known the pipe is there, so you expect some disruption when there’s an issue with it. The engineers did a great job.”
As a token of appreciation for the support shown to its teams, Cadent planted 20 silver birch trees on the periphery of one of the holes last week. These will help enhance the hole and help increase wildlife on that part of the golf course.
Most of Cadent’s 21,000-mile North West gas distribution system is underneath roads, allowing easier access for repairs and maintenance. But in some cases the pipes are elsewhere, such as farmers’ fields, beside waterways or other locations.
“It’s not an easy job to pinpoint a gas leak and often it can mean digging multiple excavations. When that’s on a pristine golf course, your heart sinks,” said Ian Marcroft, Cadent supervisor for the area. “But the club and its players have been absolutely fantastic, understanding and accommodating.”
Now, after finishing the extensive job and reinstating the course to good order, Cadent hopes its newly-planted trees will attract more ‘birdies’ to the course, as well as provide a barrier to stop wayward shots landing in adjacent allotments.
If you smell gas
If you smell gas, act immediately and ring the national gas emergency service immediately, day or night, on 0800 111 999*. Do not delay.
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 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 Altrincham 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 journey to net zero carbon emissions.
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