261 miles of gas mains to be replaced in £80m project

261 miles of gas mains will be replaced across the North West in an £80m project, including 71 miles of pipes in Liverpool city region. Tony McDonough reports

Cadent will replace gas mains across the North West in an £80m project


Liverpool city region will see 71 miles of gas mains replaced as part of an £80m project.

Cadent, which manages the North West gas network, is to replace 261 miles of gas mains across the region. In Merseyside, Wirral will see the biggest chunk of work with 27 miles of mains replaced. In Liverpool it will total 15 miles.

Some of the pipes being replaced were installed more than 100 years ago. The total length is equivalent to the straight-line distance from Liverpool to Aberdeen and the same height as more than 2,600 Blackpool Towers.

Cadent will deploy 600 gas engineers who will upgrade pipes to plastic to ensure a long-term safe network, as well as remain on track to replace fossil gas with greener alternatives.

Those alternatives include biomethane and hydrogen. However, there has been considerable controversy around proposals to use hydrogen for home heating. Multiple experts say heat pumps make much more sense.

Every year Cadent replaces around 1.5% of its 21,000-mile North West underground distribution system. These are mostly ageing metallic mains nearing the end of their safe operating lives.

This work is part of a bigger 30-year engineering programme, which is happening across the UK and is due to finish in 2032.


Cadent has started replacing 27 miles of gas mains in Wirral. Picture by Tony McDonough


Head of investment planning office (North West) for Cadent, Mark Syers, said: “More than 80% of homes in the North West rely on gas for central heating. It’s our job to make sure they get it, safely and reliably, every minute of every day of the year.

“As our older stock reaches the end of its safe working life, we must replace it. We’re also excited by the arrival soon of hydrogen to our networks, which is going to be essential to the North West achieving its targets to reduce carbon emissions.

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“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 much.

“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.”

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