Gloucestershire gas pipeline drilling hits glitch

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Technical problems have meant that plans to drill underground to lay part of a gas pipeline in Gloucestershire have been abandoned.

National Grid's 28-mile (44km) pipeline, stretching from Wormington to Sapperton, was approved by the government in November 2009.

Problems at Hailes Hill near Winchcombe meant trenches would be used instead, a spokeswoman said.

She said the project is still on target to be up and running by the autumn.

The energy organisation said the pipeline would help meet growing demand for gas in the South West.

The section where 'open cutting' to lay trenches will take place is 3215 ft (980m) long.

Horizontal drilling

National Grid spokeswoman Caroline Davidson explained: "Initially, we were going to have a trench and put the pipeline in but to minimise the impact and for environmental reasons we tried drilling the pipeline underneath the hill.

"It's a very complex engineering project. We spent about two months trying to do it and unfortunately we weren't successful which means we've had to revert to trenches, which were given approval by the secretary of state.

"We are committed throughout the whole length of the project to restoring the land to its original if not better condition and we are working with the landowners, the Cotswold Conservation Board and other environmental bodies to ensure that happens."

She said horizontal drilling had successfully taken place in other areas including under Salters Lane at Hailes in May and June.

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