MORE than 40,000 metres of gas mains on Wirral are to be upgraded as part of an £80m package of work across the northwest.

Cadent, which manages the region’s gas network, will modernise around 45,793 metres of its pipeline in the borough over the next 12 months.

Engineers will be upgrading vital pipes to plastic to ensure a long-term safe network, as well as remain on track to replace fossil gas with greener alternatives, such as biomethane and hydrogen.

Cadent say the change is essential to achieve local plans for meeting energy demands in ways that better protect the planet.

As part of its commitment to keeping customers safe and warm, every year Cadent replaces around 1.5 per cent of its 34,000km North West underground distribution system. These are mostly ageing metallic mains nearing the end of their safe operating lives.

The work is part of a bigger 30-year engineering programme, which is happening across the UK and is due to finish in 2032.

Mark Syers, who leads the team delivering Cadent’s gas mains upgrade work in the region, said: "More than 80 per cent of homes in the North West rely on gas for central heating and it's our job to make sure they get it, safely and reliably, every minute of every day of the year. 

"As our older stock reaches the end of its safe working life, we must replace it. We’re also excited by the arrival soon of hydrogen to our networks, which is going to be essential to the North West achieving its targets to reduce carbon emissions.

"In most cases we’re able to insert the new pipe into the old one, a technique that reduces the time of each project and means we don’t have to dig as much.

“It also means an end to what often becomes increasingly-frequent visits – with associated disruption – to repair faults on the older metallic mains, as they start to show signs of age.

"We know it’s not ideal, but my team is determined to move as quickly as they safely can and get the work done with as little disruption as possible.”

Once start dates have been confirmed, letters are sent to properties impacted ahead of the work starting.

Part of the programme also involves replacing individual ‘service’ pipes of tens of thousands of properties at no extra cost for customers. Cadent makes all the arrangements and gives advance notice of when work will happen.

Gas will remain on throughout, although in some cases properties that take a direct feed from the pipe being replaced will lose supply for up to 12 hours, as their building is connected to the new main. Customer teams are available to answer any questions.