Works set to repair gas pipe - The Evesham Observer

Works set to repair gas pipe

Evesham Editorial 24th May, 2019   0

VITAL works to replace a damaged section of underground gas pipe at Avon Meadows Community Wetland and Local Nature Reserve in Pershore have been revealed.

Wales and West Utilities have given joint landowners Wychavon and Pershore Town Council advanced notice of the work which is expected to be carried out at some point next spring and summer, although a start date has not been confirmed.

It’s expected the works will take around 18 weeks. The current pipe runs underneath the meadows before crossing the River Avon.

Due to river bank erosion over time, part of the gas pipe has become exposed. It is currently being protected by a floating barrage but a long-term solution is required.

This will involve installing a new section of underground pipe under both the meadows and the river and reconnecting them to the existing pipeline further downstream. The exposed section of pipe can then be terminated.

To do this it will be necessary to drill horizontally beneath the river, while areas will also need to be created on the meadows for the storing of topsoil and access for equipment.

The work is likely to cause significant damage to the meadows but it is essential it is carried out due to the safety risk posed by the exposed and damaged section of gas pipe.

Wychavon and the town council have been in discussions with the company to look at alternatives but this plan offers the best way of minimising the damage to the meadow while also ensuring the pipeline will be protected against further erosion and avoid further work in the future.

Wales and West Utilities will be legally required to restore the site and both Wychavon and Pershore Town Council can also claim compensation, which is currently being negotiated.

Both Wychavon and Pershore Town Council have also asked for an Ecological Impact Assessment to be carried out to help inform the restoration of the grassland and any other impacts on habitats and species during and after the work.

Public access to Avon Meadows will be restricted while work is taking place.

Jim Burgin, heritage manager at Wychavon District Council said: “We know this is distressing news and we all find it extremely upsetting as so much work has gone into creating the meadows not just from Wychavon and Pershore Town Council, but the wider community and of course the Friends – who work tirelessly giving up their time to support and develop the area for the benefit of visitors and wildlife .”

“That said it’s important to recognise the development of the meadows as a local nature reserve has been a ten year project to date and we will be ensuring the harm that will be done is recognised both in post restoration work and any compensation payment.”

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