Cadent close to completing challenging Cheshire gas project

Cadent engineers at work

A £2m project to supply of gas to 16,000 homes and nearly 300 industrial users of gas in Cheshire is entering its final days.

Described by a senior engineer as “one of the most challenging projects on the North West gas network in years”, the creation of a new pressure management station in Hartford is now nearing completion.

Cadent, which manages the local gas network, had identified that the current above-ground facility – which was built in the 1950s, beside a footpath off the A556, near Hartford Bridge – required urgent replacement.

Known as a ‘governor’, it brings gas pressures down to safe levels for onward travel into around 16,000 homes, schools, offices and other buildings in the area, primarily for heating.

Cadent has found a new plot of land to install the new facility below ground. 

The A556 has been closed at times, to ensure sufficient safe space for the workers and motorists, and to allow Cadent to lay 400 metres of new pipes to the new location.

An important milestone was reached this week, as the new facility was commissioned. This means the gas is now flowing through it – and all tests have shown everything is working safely and reliably. The old facility can now be decommissioned and the large work areas restored to good order.

Cadent is working towards having all existing lane closures lifted by 8th March. It will ensure the grass verges beside the road, which is where the new facility is now housed, will be restored to good order. In time, there will be little evidence to show the facility is there – as it will be below the ground, out of sight.

Paul Phillips, the Cadent engineer in charge of this project, said: “This has been a very challenging project – one of the most difficult ones, for many reasons, in my 23 years working in gas.

“Engineering on a scale like this is meticulous and does take time. Safety is always our number one priority, as well as ensuring we kept gas flowing throughout, to keep people warm through winter. 

“We’ve been incredibly grateful for the patience of the public, as we have been on-site since July now.

“I’m pleased to say the new governor is up and running, and operating safely.”

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 Cheshire 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 next decade.