On the western part of our network, enabling the transition to net zero means we need to increase capacity to accommodate more gas from South Hook LNG Terminal. We currently anticipate being able to bring forward the date when the additional capacity will be available from Jan 2026 to during 2025, with the intention that all project work be complete in 2026.
How we achieve this increase in capacity is important – construction has environmental and community impacts, and the cost of the work is met by households and businesses through energy bills.
A thorough and detailed analysis of our network revealed how we can increase capacity through the least amount of new infrastructure, the least impact on people and the environment and at the least cost. It represents the best value for UK consumers.
Part of this work will include increasing the pressure at which gas moves through our underground gas pipelines on the western leg of our network, allowing more gas to travel through the pipeline at a quicker rate. This increase in pressure is referred to as uprating. We are engaging with the Health and Safety Executive to demonstrate that the network will continue to meet stringent safety standards with these small increases. We must also modify some of our existing Above Ground Installation (AGI) sites and bury concrete slabs above a section of the existing pipeline as a precaution to protect against accidental damage from digging equipment.
There are a number of AGI sites which will require upgrade work, and each plays an important part in managing the pressure of the gas pipeline. Most of the AGIs will require relatively minor modifications to existing structures. Some few others require modest extensions within National Grid’s existing land ownership or onto land not in National Grid ownership.
Because we’re upgrading existing infrastructure, much of the work can be undertaken as permitted development (this describes certain types of work which can be undertaken without needing to apply for planning permission). We do need consent from local authorities for some parts of the project and in a few cases to work with landowners whose property will host the infrastructure. We’d also like to engage with local elected representatives, residents and businesses - their feedback will help us to design construction activity in the most appropriate way. Currently work is programmed for 2024, this may be subject to change.