MOD Pipeline

Key Dimensions

Existing Structure:
Width at water


Proposed Replacement:
Drop Pipeline Below Navigation


Background Information

The MOD Pipeline was built to carry liquid fuel from Avonmouth into the Midlands. Its construction ended the use of tankers on the G&S Canal and River Severn.

The pipeline was not well constructed and it is frequently above or near the surface.

It breaks the surface to span both the canal and the river with a headroom of less than 1m.

The pipeline is maintained by the British Pipeline Agency on behalf of the Oil Pipelines Agency, who manage it on behalf of the MOD. Although the pipeline is above the canal already, simply increasing the headroom to provide 2.4m of airdraft is apparently unacceptable as the pipeline is vulnerable to attack when above the ground.

The pipeline is taken off line for maintenance periods approximately every two years and it is during such a shutdown period that work to relocate the pipe under the canal or river would need to take place. It is likely that thrust boring would be used to bypass the current crossing(s). An estimate to carry such work out for the canal crossing was £32 - £50k  in 1991 and eventually refined down to £34,000. The lack of available funds at short notice and the risk that the estimated price might be significantly exceeded prevented the Trust from agreeing to fund the work.

Attempts were made to persuaded the OAP and MOD that this work should be done anyway so as to avoid the risk of damage to the pipeline and this argument, with the support of the then local MP, Roger Knapman, and Earl Bathurst generated lots of letters and a meeting with Lord Cranbourne at the MOD.

The local farmer who owns the land north of the canal at this site believes that the pipeline used to pass below the canal when first built. There is no evidence on the ground for this and it seems unlikely.

The file of correspondence is with Ken Burgin.

Replacement Structure

Replace the offending length of pipeline with one passing under the canal bed using thrust boring techniques.

MOD Pipeline over River Frome  MOD Pipeline over Frome

MOD Pipeline over canal  MOD Pipeline over Canal from west

MOD pipeline from Occupation Bridge  MOD Pipeline from Occupation Bridge

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