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
The pipeline was not well constructed and it is frequently above or near
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.
Replace the offending length of pipeline with one passing under the canal
bed using thrust boring techniques.