National Grid warns fracking firm to stay away from its pylons and pipelines

 pylon new

The National Grid has warned fracking firm Cuadrilla it will take legal action if its drilling operation for shale gas threatens to disturb its underground pipelines or overhead transmission lines, ClickGreen can reveal. The organisation has lodged a “formal objection” to a preliminary application by Cuadrilla to extend its search for shale gas in the Bowland Basin. The company has submitted an initial bid seeking to open up four exploratory boreholes near the Lancashire town of Kirkham, midway between Blackpool and Preston. But in a strongly worded letter to County Council planning chiefs, the National Grid has taken an unprecedented stance and warned of legal action should the drilling affect a nearby high-pressure gas pipeline as well as its high-voltage transmission overhead linesOfficials at the Asset Management team at the National Grid pointed out that the organisation possessed a legal Deed of Easement on the area, which prevents any disturbance to the ground and blocks the “erection of permanent / temporary buildings or structures”. And in several official responses, they repeatedly warn: “If necessary National Grid will take action to legally enforce the terms of the easement.” The surprise position could threaten the widening spread of fracking in the North West of England as a network of several underground high-pressure gas pipelines criss-cross the region. In addition, the National Grid warned Cuadrilla off planning to drill underground near to any of its overhead electricity pylons. “Drilling or excavation works should not be undertaken if they have the potential to disturb or adversely affect the foundations or ‘pillars of support’ of our towers,” officials explained. “These foundations extend beyond the base of the tower. “We only support proposals for the relocation of existing high voltage overhead lines where such proposals directly facilitate a major development or infrastructure project of national importance which has been identified as such by Government.” It also prevents construction traffic from driving over the gas pipeline to access the proposed drilling sites. In its official response to the plans submitted in February, the private company that owns the electricity transmission system in England and Wales and operates 7,660km of high-pressure gas pipelines, wrote: “National Grid has identified that it has apparatus in the vicinity… which may be affected by the activities specified. “National Grid therefore formally objects to these activities pending further consultation.” Officials did offer to drop the company’s opposition if Cuadrilla agreed to foot the massive bill for re-routing the major gas pipeline, but added: “The objection will only be lifted upon completion of these works.”