More than a century old pipes supplying gas to Bolton are in line for a £80M upgrade.

Cadent have released details on the multi-million package to improve the to improve the gas network in Bolton and Bury over 2024-2025.

Cadent, which manages the region’s gas network, will modernise around 420,000 metres of its North West pipeline over the next 12 months – including across the borough.

This is the same straight-line distance as Liverpool to Aberdeen.

It is also the same length as around 4,000 football pitches, and the same height as more than 2,600 Blackpool Towers.

The £80m investment will be delivered by 600 skilled gas engineers who will be upgrading vital pipes to plastic to ensure a long-term safe network, as well as remain on track to replace fossil gas with greener alternatives, such as biomethane and hydrogen.

This change is essential to achieve local plans for meeting energy demands in ways that better protect the planet.

In Bolton there will be 19,492 metres of pipe to be upgraded between 2024 and 2025.

As part of its commitment to keeping customers safe and warm, every year Cadent replaces around 1.5 per cent of its 34,000km North West underground distribution system. These are mostly ageing metallic mains nearing the end of their safe operating lives.

The work is part of a bigger 30-year engineering programme, which is happening across the UK and is due to finish in 2032.

Head of Investment Planning Office (North West) Mark Syers, who leads the team delivering Cadent’s gas mains upgrade work in the region said: “More than 80 per cent of homes in the North West rely on gas for central heating and it’s our job to make sure they get it, safely and reliably, every minute of every day of the year.

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“As our older stock reaches the end of its safe working life, we must replace it.

“We’re also excited by the arrival soon of hydrogen to our networks, which is going to be essential to the North West achieving its targets to reduce carbon emissions.

“In most cases we’re able to insert the new pipe into the old one, a technique that reduces the time of each project and means we don’t have to dig as much.

“It also means an end to what often becomes increasingly-frequent visits – with associated disruption – to repair faults on the older metallic mains, as they start to show signs of age. We know it’s not ideal, but my team is determined to move as quickly as they safely can and get the work done with as little disruption as possible.”

By distance, the ‘top five’ workload areas for 2024-25 are: Wirral (45,793 metres), Manchester (24,697), Liverpool (24,287 metres), Sefton (21,656 metres), and Wigan (20,368 metres).

Cadent works with the local highway authorities to agree on the best and least disruptive timings to carry out these essential upgrades.

Once start dates have been confirmed, letters are sent to properties impacted ahead of the work starting.

Part of the programme also involves replacing individual ‘service’ pipes of tens of thousands of properties at no extra cost for customers. Cadent makes all the arrangements and gives advance notice of when work will happen.

Gas remains on throughout, although in some cases properties that take a direct feed from the pipe being replaced will lose supply for up to 12 hours, as their building is connected to the new main. Customer teams are available to answer any questions.

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