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Pipelines health and safety

Major accident hazard pipeline being laid in a trench

HSE's Energy Division (ED) is responsible for the onshore and offshore pipelines industry. Our strategy and priorities for the onshore pipelines sector are set out in the Onshore Gas & Pipelines Sector Strategy 2014 - 2017 under the following:

and, for the offshore pipelines sector, in the Offshore Oil and Gas Sector Strategy 2014-2017 under the following:

What pipelines do we cover?

This topic website concentrates on pipelines covered by the Pipeline Safety Regulations 1996 (PSR) and in particular on those pipelines known as major accident hazard pipelines (see below). PSR applies to pipelines in Great Britain and to those in territorial waters and the UK Continental Shelf. Pipelines to which PSR does not apply are defined in regulation 3 and Schedule 2 of PSR, for example sewers, drains and most pipelines carrying air or water.

We do not cover the environmental issues that can be associated with pipelines or their possible consequences. These are covered by the Environment Agency in England & Wales and the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) in Scotland.

Major accident hazard pipelines (MAH pipelines or MAHPs)

These include the high pressure natural gas supply transmission and distribution network.

They also cover other pipeline systems transporting oils, chemicals and other gases. Examples include ammonia and ethylene.

These substances are known collectively as dangerous fluids, as defined in schedule 2 of PSR.

Special requirements apply to MAH pipelines, including:

  • Notifications regime
  • Major accident prevention document
  • Arrangements for emergency plans

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Updated 2015-07-06