Buried pipelines

The fine spring weather is allowing farmers to get groundwork underway during one of the busiest times of the year and while ploughing and sowing are happening at full pelt as well as regular maintenance work such as ditch clearing and fencing, farmers and landowners must always be aware of the hazards associated with damaging buried pipelines.

Many pipelines carrying highly flammable products are less than one metre from the surface and if no care is taken can be damaged by invasive farm machinery. Holing a pipeline can result in injury, death or significant environmental damage including pollution of soil, water and the atmosphere. Typical costs of repairing and cleaning up following an incident can run into the millions of pounds.

British Pipeline Agency Ltd (BPA)

BPA distributes highly flammable fuels via more than 1,000km of buried high-pressure fuel pipelines across the UK.  If you are in any doubt about the location of a pipeline beneath your land, contact BPA and we will come and locate the pipeline and give advice to ensure the safety of those working close to the line.  Our `Know what’s Below’ campaign aims to give advice and inform farmers and landowners about their responsibilities.

BPA advice:

If you’re planning on working near a pipeline, we are asking farmers, landowners or contractors to contact BPA in advance of any work being undertaken.  Please also contact BPA’s Lands Team if the line is not clearly marked and we will be happy to arrange for a free site visit to help detail the pipeline’s route.  BPA’s Lands Team is typically able to visit a site within seven days of a request.  We would also ask all landowners to inform third parties or contractors of the pipeline and the precautions that are required if working in its vicinity.

Please don’t just assume it’s ok to drill or dig near a pipeline or to clean ditches with mechanical diggers without speaking to BPA first.  Using use heavy machinery close to a pipeline, erecting fences across a pipeline or installing or repairing land drainage networks near to the pipeline requires prior notice and authorisation.

Please also be aware of any suspicious activities near to the pipeline network and contact a member of BPA’s lands team if you have concerns.  We are here and ready to help, so if you are thinking of undertaking work near to a pipeline, call BPA free on 0800 585 387 and if necessary a team member will come out for a free site visit and give advice.

Thank you for your continued support.

Know What's Below letters

BPA has launched its ‘Know What’s Below’ campaign a little earlier than in previous years to specifically target landowners in advance of the regular ditch clearing season.

BPA’s Landowner Services team has issued letters to nearly 2000 landowner and tenants along BPA’s 1000km of buried high pressure pipelines in the UK.

The letters ask all landowners or tenants to respond using the enclosed form and self-addressed envelope so that BPA can ensure that their records are up to date and that they have the correct details should we need to contact landowners in the event of an emergency or planned works.

The letter also provides information on who landowners need to contact, and what to do, if they are required to operate in the vicinity of one of the high-pressure fuel pipelines.

Respond by end of March

Those who respond to the request and return their completed forms in the self-addressed envelope by the end of March will automatically be entered into a prize draw to receive one of five luxurious hampers.

Please keep a look out for BPA’s ‘Know What’s Below’ campaign letters and ensure that you promptly return them to a member of the BPA Landowner Services team.  Contact the team for further information.



Know What's Below hamper

We are delighted to announce the winners of the Know What’s Below hamper draw.  The winners were selected at random from the hundreds of landowners and tenants who confirmed their contact details and returned their pipeline map to BPA.

This year’s luck winners are Ms K. Charlesworth from Nantwich, Mrs H. McBreen from Woolscott, Mrs J. Rawding from Marsworth, Mr R. Daniell from Betchworth and Mr N. How from Hargrave in Northamptonshire.

Each has received a stunning ‘Taste of Christmas’ hamper filled to the brim with everyone’s favourite festive flavours.  The £100 hamper included a range of goodies from indulgent snacks and treats to bottles of red wine, white wine and Prosecco.  The recipients were presented with their hampers by members of BPA’s lands team.

Know What’s Below

As part of its Know What’s Below campaign, each year BPA writes to the landowners along its pipeline network to remind them of the high-pressure oil pipeline that runs under their land, what to do if they need to undertake groundworks in the vicinity of the pipeline and to check that they are still responsible for the land.  Everyone who returns the map, confirming their details is entered into the prize draw.

Phil Taylor, Lands Manager at BPA, comments: “We write to the landowners along the pipeline network to remind them of the high-pressure oil pipeline that run under their land and to confirm that we have their correct contact details.  Those who respond are automatically entered into the draw and it’s great to be able to reward these lucky landowners in this way.”

Letters are sent to more than 2000 recipients along the BPA pipeline network as part of the company’s “Know What’s Below” campaign.  The campaign aims to reduce the number of incidents, accidents and spills along the pipeline network.  Landowners are encouraged to contact BPA’s Lands Team with any questions or concerns they may have regarding the pipelines on 0800 585 387.

Know what's below

As part of our ‘Know What’s Below’ campaign to communicate with landowners to ensure they inform us of any changes to landownership or plans to operate in the vicinity of pipelines, we trialled contacting landowners via SMS.

Despite the record responses to our annual letter, some landowners either lost their letters or were too busy to use the self-addressed response envelope.  To offer landowners an easy and convenient way of responding we thought it may work if we sent a text message to the contacts that we have not heard back from.

Of our target list of nearly 300 landowners we sent a simple message asking landowners to reply ‘correct’ or ‘incorrect’ to whether the information they had received from BPA was correct or not.  The response rates were very positive more than a quarter deciding to respond in this way.  Our records were updated to reflect those who responded ‘correct’ and while those who replied ‘incorrect’ were contacted by the team and their details were amended.

All recipients were given the option to opt out of the messaging, however the positive response rates showed that this harder to reach group welcomed the opportunity to respond in this way.

If you have any comments regarding our communications, please contact the team by using the email link below.

Know What's Below

During October the team will be carrying out a Cathodic Protection survey along the WLPS pipelines that run from the Buncefield Oil Storage Terminal near Hemel Hempstead and Heathrow Airport.

The survey aims to assesses the condition of the pipeline coating, allowing the team to identify any potential works that may need to be carried out to further protect the pipeline.

Phil Taylor, BPA’s Lands Manager, comments; “Your safety is our concern and it’s important that the team regularly walks sections of the pipeline to ensure there are no issues with the pipeline.  It’s also a good way for us to get out and meet landowners and answer any questions they may have.”

To find out when we will be in your area, contact the team on 0800 585 387.

Know What's Below Hamper winners

Each year BPA’s Lands team write to landowners to confirm both current contact details and for a quick check of the ownership of the land through which the pipeline runs.  This helps us keep contact information up to date and allows us to keep landowners fully informed about the pipeline on their land and any works we may need to do.

In recognition of this annual inconvenience, we give landowners the chance to win a food and wine hamper by simply returning the enclosed forms.  The hamper contains a range of goodies from biscuits and chocolates to wine and chutneys.

The winner, picked at random from those who returned their contact details, was Mr Sinclair of Tollgate Farm Colney Heath. He was the happy recipient of the hamper worth over £100 and packed with goodies.

If you would like the opportunity to win a hamper with more than £100 of food and wine, keep a watch out for our annual letter asking landowners to confirm their contact details, complete the form and return to us using the stamped addressed envelope provided.

We would like to thank all those who have completed their forms and returned them to the BPA Lands team.  Working together we can help keep our high pressure oil pipelines safe.