Gateshead District Energy Scheme – Planning Application Support

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Gateshead District Energy Scheme – Planning Application Support

DBS were appointed by Gateshead Council to support a project (with specialist contaminated land advice) to generate cost effective energy at a central location in Gateshead, with a subsurface pipeline route extending through the local area to provide heating to landmark buildings.

Client:  Gateshead Council

Summary

Gateshead Council developed an ambitious project to generate cost effective energy at a central location in Gateshead, with a subsurface pipeline route extending through the local area to provide heating to landmark buildings such as the Sage, Baltic and the Hilton Hotel, as well as civic buildings and other commercial ventures that wanted to buy into the scheme.

This provides cost effective energy and eliminates the need for on site energy generation in each building.

The contractor chosen to build the pipeline route was Clancy Docwra, with d3 Associates providing project management services.

Planning permission was needed for the pipeline, and Gateshead Council prepared detailed Phase 1 Desk Study reports to establish the initial Conceptual Model for the pipeline route.

Due to the 3km length of the pipeline corridor, the pipeline traversed through a much-varied historical landscape comprising an array of heavy industry.

The route was therefore split up into different zones and ranked against potential contaminated land risks for each zone. Following provision of planning consent, DBS were appointed by the council to support the project with specialist contaminated land advice.

Following a review of the councils Phase 1 reports, we designed a suitable Phase 2 intrusive investigation of the entire pipeline route to identify potential risks to property (the pipeline materials) and human health (construction workers/ general public / end users).

Prior to commencing the work, DBS prepared a “Sampling & Analysis Plan” that identified how the work was to proceed, its aims and objectives, QA procedures for sampling, H&S considerations and project control mechanisms.

The plan was agreed with all stakeholders prior to the work commencing on site.

As the pipeline was to follow existing services corridors, the majority of the route was under the highway within the centre of Gateshead and the Quayside, and also beneath pavements.  This presented considerable traffic management issues and potential risks for public safety, and also risks to the drillers and DBS site staff from underground buried services.

There was therefore a strict permit system put in place for the works, managed at a site level by Clancy Docwra and controlled by the council.  A specialist services clearance company was also appointed by DBS to clear borehole locations for services ahead of drilling.

The investigation itself comprised the sinking of window sample boreholes with a terrier rig to a depth of 0.5m below the final bed level of the pipework  (this obviously changed at each exploratory hole location along the route), to identify Made Ground and natural materials, to obtain samples for chemical laboratory testing and to allow in situ monitoring for VOCs using a PID.

Boreholes were also installed with combined gas and groundwater monitoring wells to enable a subsequent monitoring regime to be established; as part of this process groundwater levels were also monitored to identify any potential impact to the pipeline due to high and low tides from the River Tyne.

Upon completion of the work DBS prepared a detailed Phase 2 Interpretative report to support the discharge of planning conditions relating to contaminated land and to allow the pipeline project to proceed safely.

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