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Danger to buried oil pipelines when ditching & fencing

Landowners looking to undertake ditching or fencing works need to be aware that the UK has an extensive network of pipelines that bisect the country, transporting oil, gas and chemical products across country and through suburban areas.

The buried pipelines operate at high pressure (up to 50 times that of a car tyre) and are often only at a nominal depth of only one metre.  Due to the flammable, and potentially hazardous nature of the products contained, anyone proposing fencing or ditching works near to a pipeline needs to be aware of the potential dangers, what to do and who to contact before commencing works.

The BPA Lands team is here to help and are here to support landowners, contractors or others when working near to BPA’s buried pipelines by providing information and resource at no cost.  With the right information and advice, we hope to reduce the risk of a serious incident on the pipeline network that we manage.

However to ensure the best and safest outcomes for all we ask that those who are looking to undertake any works within three metres of a buried BPA pipeline to:

  1. Please give a minimum of 7 days notice before works begin. This will ensure we can fully support you with your proposed activities.
  2. Never assume you can go ahead unless consent is given. BPA’s team will be on hand to support your work, however, works should not begin until permission is granted.
  3. Be aware pipeline depths vary under ditches and are not always protected with slabs. Be aware that pipeline depths vary across the country and can often be found only a metre below the surface, they are also seldom protected with concrete slabs.
  4. Seek advice as pipelines do not always run in straight lines between marker posts. Although posts are used to mark the location of a pipeline at a field boundary, not all pipelines run in straight lines between posts. We’re here to help mark out the exact location.
  5. Be aware that other infrastructure, such as cables, can be buried shallower than the pipeline. Often there are other potentially hazardous or safety critical infrastructure buried along the pipeline lengths, these can be found at even shallower depth to the pipeline.

Please be aware that it’s also the landowner’s responsibility to ensure that contractors operating on their land comply with regulations.  Working near pipelines without taking the correct precautions can have serious consequences.

If there is any doubt, please contact a member of the BPA lands team on freephone 0800 585 387.

 

Buried oil pipelines in Cheshire

Works have recently been completed that required sections of the buried oil pipelines in Cheshire to be exposed.  The pipeline’s depth of cover was measured and the works were undertaken to ensure that there was adequate cover to protect the landowner and contractors who may be operating in the pipeline’s vicinity.

As part of BPA’s regular line walking, monitoring and surveying activities, it was decided that this section of buried oil pipeline in Cheshire should be excavated so that a section of the high pressure oil pipeline could be replaced at a greater depth.

High-pressure oil and gas pipelines are laid in welded steel sections, at a nominal depth of at least one meter.  BPA’s buried pipelines carry oil at pressures of up to fifteen hundred PSI, that’s at least 50 times the pressure of an average car tyre, and can pose a risk to people or the environment if they are damaged.

To prevent against accident, contractors working near to pipelines have a legal duty of care to protect their personnel, the general public and the environment when operating in the vicinity of the pipeline.  As such anyone working within 3 meters either side of the pipeline is required to contact the pipeline operator to ensure compliance with legislation.

When contacting BPA, the team will ask for details regarding the proposed works and will support landowners by outlining all the required health and safety requirements.  Landowners or contractors who don’t inform landowners not only risk breaking the law, but could potentially be putting someone’s life at risk.

Once informed of works on the buried oil pipelines, BPA can support landowners or contractors by providing maps that show the exact location of the pipeline and help mark out its route for any activities.  There is no charge for this service and the pipeline operator will always deal with a landowner in an emergency.

Exposing the buried oil pipeline in Cheshire, clearly shows that pipelines can often be found at a nominal depth of only one metre.  It also shows that pipelines often do not run in straight lines between field markers and that landowners should contact the pipeline operator if in doubt.

If landowners or contractors have any questions regarding the pipelines that run under their land, please contact a member of the BPA’s Lands Team and they would be more than happy to assist.