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Progress with the iron mains replacement programme at 31 March 2013

1. The Pipelines Safety Regulations 1996, regulation 13A, requires HSE to approve iron mains replacement programmes, submitted by the gas Distribution Network operators (GDNs), if they are judged by HSE to be ‘suitable and sufficient’.

2. Previously HSE has approved programmes for a period of one year. However, HSE will also approve programmes lasting more than one year if:

  1. the GDNs are able to demonstrate that an equivalent or higher length of mains and amounts of risk will be removed; and
  2. the GDNs set indicative annual targets within their longer programmes.

3. In 2012 HSE approved two one-year programmes submitted for the period 1 April 2012 to 31 March 2013. Table 1 shows the progress made by those GDNs with annual programme targets. Variance with the targets is shown in brackets.

Table 1: Annual mains decommissioning performance 2012 - 2013

Network GDN Decommissioning
Target (km)
Decommissioning
Actual (km)
North West National Grid Gas plc 521.0 1820.0 526.0 1847.0 (+27.0)
East of England 588.0 602.0
West Midlands 351.0 353.0
North London 360.0 366.0
North of England Northern Gas Networks Limited 528.1 540.7 (+12.6)

4. In 2010 HSE approved three 3-year programmes submitted for the period 1 April 2010 to 31 March 2013. Table 2 shows the progress made by those GDNs with 3-year programme targets. Variance with the targets is shown in brackets.

Table 2: 3-year mains decommissioning performance 2010 - 2013

Network GDN Decommissioning
Target (km)
Decommissioning
Actual (km)
Scotland Scotland Gas Networks plc 807.5 819.7 (+12.1)
South of England Southern Gas Networks plc 2136.9 2225.4 (+88.5)
Wales & West Wales & West Utilities Limited 1083.0 1084.5 (+1.5)

5. In 2012/13 all of the GDNs decommissioned 3737.4 km of 'at risk' iron mains.

6. National Grid Gas plc and Northern Gas Networks Ltd exceeded their annual targets for 2012/13 by 15km and 11.1km respectively (taking into account their 2011/12 approved programme shortfalls of 12km and 1.5km).

7. Scotland Gas Networks plc, Southern Gas Networks plc and Wales & West Utilities Ltd collectively exceeded their 3-year approved programmes targets by 102.2 km.

8. As part of its monitoring strategy HSE carries out mains replacement audits to check that mains are decommissioned in accordance with the policies and procedures in the GDNs’ Gas Safety (Management) Regulations 1996 safety cases.

2013-10-24