RESIDENTS OF south Wales this week warned that a 316km gas pipeline between Milford Haven and Tirley will be vulnerable to fracture from earthquakes and landslides.
Opponents of the 1.22m diameter steel pipeline claim that areas of the route are prone to landslides and are seisimically active.
'If there was an accident caused by an earthquake or landslide or anything else that could cause the pipe to rupture, a colossal amount of gas would escape. It's not like it's a small pipe, ' said pressure group Safe Haven member and Milford Haven resident Ivor Johnson 'A leak might just evaporate away but if the gas did catch fire, it could cause a fire that would be catastrophic to local residents, ' he added.
National Grid refused to be drawn on what measures it had taken to mitigate the threat from seismic activity. A spokeswoman said: 'Extensive ground surveys have been conducted to help us choose the route of the pipeline. We wouldn't construct it if we didn't think it was safe for people in the vicinity.' A report from The British Geological Survey reveals that the area around Swansea, more than anywhere else in south Wales, has shown a consistent recurrence of earthquakes over the past 200 years. The report suggests there may be another one due in the near future.
Site workers recently agreed not to use explosives while clearing the pipeline route, a move that residents welcomed.
Joint venture contractor Nacap Land & Marine is burying the pipeline a minimum of 1.2m below ground for the sections from Milford Haven to Aberdulais and Felindre to Brecon. Murphy Pipelines is contracted to do the same from Brecon to Tirley (see map).
The pipeline will transport gas from two new liquefied natural gas terminals near Milford Haven. Work began in early 2006 and is expected to be completed in 2009.