Environmental services for Wales & West Utilities

Our multiple site assessments are helping a leading gas distributor identify and respond appropriately to potential environmental liabilities across their property portfolio.

Environmental services for Wales & West Utilities

Wales & West Utilities is an Ofgem regulated gas distribution business that began operations in 2005. The company operates around 35,000 kilometres of gas pipelines serving 2.5 million homes and businesses with an estimated population of 7.5 million across Wales and the south west of England.

One of Wales & West Utilities’ business priorities is to protect and help the environment for today and the future. Part of this includes a commitment to ensure that their large and varied property portfolio complies with Part 2A of the Environment Act.

As part of an environmental services framework, Hydrock has helped Wales & West Utilities to understand, prioritise and respond to any environmental liabilities (mainly from historical processes) associated with their sites. This enables Wales & West Utilities to manage operational risk, budgets and future forecasts more efficiently and is of particular relevance given that many of the sites were inherited from predecessor companies.

Our team has assessed a large number of sites for Wales & West Utilities under this framework. These vary from major historical gasworks to small Pressure Reduction Installations that act as local connection points serving homes and businesses.

We have conducted a range of ground investigations using boreholes and trial pits to assess groundwater and soil conditions and produced risk assessments that reported on the level of contamination, potential liabilities and potential management or clean-up costs.

Wales & West Utilities and Hydrock both recognised the impact of future climate change on the company’s activities and land holdings and, as such, this was built into future projections in each report. This work included modelling the impact of increased rainfall as a consequence of climate change on unsaturated soils and the effect this might have on groundwater contamination as a result of rising groundwater and/or increased infiltration.

Our approach also considers impacts from neighbouring sites and their effect on Wales & West Utilities’ liabilities if these neighbouring sites were separately remediated and developed in the future, effectively isolating land quality issues to the often smaller, specific Wales & West Utilities site.

Our assessments have established the nature and extent of statutory environmental liabilities associated with Wales & West Utilities’ wide and varied property portfolio.

Risk ratings have been assigned to bring focus to a capital works programme, and we have been engaged to support a large proportion of the remediation programmes that have followed from our initial assessments, as well as a number produced by others.

Picture courtesy of Oliver Lancaster, Wales & West Utiilities