Scotland - Gov't urged to review country's gas pipeline network after explosion, 19 leaks found : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

BBC News Online: UK: Scotland

Monday, 10 January, 2000, 19:47 GMT

Gas blast prompts inquiry call

The government has been urged to carry out an inquiry into the gas network following an explosion in which a family of four died.

The Scottish Liberal Democrats have called for a review of the whole underground pipeline network to see if competitive pressures could be compromising safety.

The call follows the death of Drew, Janette, Stacey and Daryl Findlay at their home in Larkhall, Lanarkshire, just before Christmas. Lib Dem MSP and Scottish home affairs spokesman Euan Robson said: "There have been significant changes in the last five years in particular and now we've got division of responsibility among the various agencies.

"In the old days the monopoly of British Gas used to have an all-encompassing safety environment because one firm did everything but now we have fragmentation and responsibility cut up among a number of companies and government agencies.

"It's time to review this to see that safety is not being compromised because of boundaries between organisations".

As Larkhall residents meet representatives of gas supply company Transco to voice safety concerns, it has emerged that government investigators found 19 leaks in the local pipeline.

Transco, which has been ordered to replace the pipe by the end of January, is facing questions from Carlisle Road residents at a meeting on Monday.

Larkhall residents said they were extremely worried at the lack of communication between the public and Transco.

There is concern here that there may be another tragedy

Councillor Jackie Burns

Larkhall South councillor Jackie Burns said: "Transco don't seem to realise that from the recent evidence of corrosion and the 19 leaks - no matter how small they were - the community fears that there is a risk of another explosion.

"I, like everyone else in the town was extremely alarmed when I heard the 19 leaks had been found in the pipe that fed gas to homes at the scene of the explosion.

"Transco don't seem to realise people's feelings here that this remains an emergency situation.

"There is concern here that there may be another tragedy waiting to happen.

"Its about time, too, we had some useful dialogue with Transco."

Senior Transco officials, Strathclyde Police officers who have been investigating the blast, Strathclyde Fire Brigade officers and roads officials from South Lanarkshire Council are facing questions at the meeting. Work has already begun on drawing up plans to replace the entire metal mains pipe that reaches from houses around Carlisle Road at Canderside Toll to near the outskirts of the neighbouring village of Blackwood.

Transco spokesman Alex Cunningham said: "We have detected a number of gas escapes on that pipe, albeit very small gas escapes, and we believed it would be appropriate to replace it.

"It also helps to reassure the local people that we're doing everything possible there too."

The official cause of the explosion that destroyed the Findlay's home is still to be established.

BBC News

-- Lee Maloney (, March 16, 2000

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