We have a raft of green-themed initiatives underway with plenty more in the pipeline.
- Putting waste to work with biomethane
Biogas a clean sustainable gas is formed by the breakdown of organic matter, such as agricultural and food waste that can undergo a process to produce biomethane. Biomethane can be transported through our pipe network, and we work closely with the producers to get their gas into our grid.
Over the past 12 months, we’ve connected eight new biomethane plants to our grid. Plants include a food waste site at Leeming Bar in North Yorkshire; a creamery in Aspatria, Cumbria, and a farm in Garforth, Leeds.
These new plants join Northumbrian Water’s Howdon biomethane site, which has been operational since late 2014.
The combined potential output of these facilities is 838,062 mW.
- Powering our vehicles with compressed natural gas
We’re currently trialling two work vans powered by natural gas.
The vans are being put through their paces to test performance, practicality and environmental savings. If they perform effectively, we may well add more to the fleet in the future.
The trial ties in nicely with our joint project with Leeds City Council to develop the UK’s biggest natural gas refuelling station, which you can read more about below
- Helping businesses be more resource efficient
Three hundred businesses in the Leeds area are to receive funding to help improve their resource efficiency, and NGN has played a part.
We helped the Leeds Enterprise Partnership (LEP) secure £1 million funding from the Energy Accelerator growth fund, by paying for the business case to be put together.
The money will help 300 businesses save 3,300 tonnes of carbon per year.
The business case we funded is also being used by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to inform future work in resource efficiency across the business community.
- Gas holder demolition
We are in the process of decommissioning the region’s remaining 44 gas holders. These holders are a legacy of a different age and are no longer needed due to improvements in our network. We aim to demolish them all over a 16 year period.
We completed the decommissioning of three holders in 2015/16 – one more than in our original plan.
Local communities often feel an affinity to these structures which have dominated skylines for so long, and we handle projects in a collaborative and sympathetic way.
Our community artist, Mick Hand, works with local schools to create artwork inspired by the holders, and we give local people the opportunity to share their memories of the structures.
We approach each demolition in a green minded way, recycling as much material as possible, and have even used spoil from nearby worksites to fill in holes left by the holders.
- Helping our contractors think green
Reducing the amount of spoil we send to landfill, and using greater quantities of recycled aggregate, is a big challenge, not least because of the lack of suitable recycling centres throughout our region.
To help ensure our work sites are a green as possible, we’ve been providing awareness sessions for our construction services teams – local engineering contractors who deliver our mains replacement jobs.
The sessions have allowed us to update engineers on our environmental RIIO targets, the importance of recycling, suitable products and the location of recycling centres.
We’ve also begun to measure the performance of these construction services teams when it comes to recycling spoil and using recycled products, with performance recorded in ‘league tables’.
- Getting our hands dirty with Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
We’ve teamed up with the Yorkshire Wildlife Trust (YWT) to help them with vitally important conservation work in our region. The YWT is a local charity that works to protect Yorkshire’s wild places and wildlife for current and future generations to enjoy.
The YWT has a network of 97 reserves, all of which require regular maintenance. As corporate members of the trust we are running a programme of volunteer days, asking our colleagues to get their hands dirty by helping out! Maintenance tasks range from fence building to weed pulling and come rain or shine we’ll have a band of willing volunteers equipped to help.
We’re aiming to give the YWT over 350 hours of hands on help over the year to contribute to their ongoing conservation projects, a valuable contribution to our local community and the environment; upholding the core values of our community promises.