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Upgrading our existing network

Background

National Grid brings energy to life by getting heat, light and power to people’s homes and businesses. We’re also at the heart of a revolution to create a greener energy future and are committed to reducing our own direct greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050, in line with the UK’s overall target.

Redressing the balance between the amount of greenhouse gas emissions we produce and the amount we remove from the atmosphere won’t happen overnight.

As we explore new ways to harness renewable energy and change the way we operate, we must continue to bring energy to life through transformational engineering which delivers what households and businesses need.

Gas underpins the journey to net zero. It generates the least carbon of all fossil fuels while providing more than 80% of Britain’s homes and businesses with a secure and reliable source of heat and power. By delivering a reliable base to meet the nation’s energy demand, it enables increasing innovation and growth of cleaner, but more intermittent, renewable energy sources. In the long term to 2050, we are looking to deliver low-carbon gas transmission through biogas and hydrogen.

At the same time, where our gas comes from right now is changing. The availability of gas from North Sea fields has decreased and to make up the difference, imports via Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) terminals are increasing.

National Grid needs to respond to these changes. We facilitate competition in the supply of gas in Great Britain and ensure the UK’s gas transmission network – the pipes and turbines that propel gas around the country – can accommodate the changing nature of supply. We connect sources of supply to homes and businesses.

Project Overview

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.

Increasing pressure

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.

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Learn more about our project and how we work with communities

Where does your gas come from?

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Working with communities

Learn more about our project and how we work with communities.

Building our gas network

Find out how we build and maintain our essential gas network.