visit to gas pipeline protest camp

Yesterday we went up to Brecon to the protest camp that has been set up there. Protesters are trying to prevent the destruction of beautiful ancient woodland to make way for the 120 mile gas pipeline that is running from Milford Haven in west Wales through Pembroke, Camarthen, the Swansea valleys, Brecon Beacons national park, Hay-on-Wye and Ross-on-Wye to Corse/Tirley near Gloucester.

Inspired by the initial squatting of the pipeline in November, camps sprung up at Milford Haven, Trebanos and Cilfrew, with locals and activists regularly disrupting work. January saw a number of actions, including at a new location at Alltwen, Pontardawe - where people chained themselves to machinery in order to stop the work carrying on the other side of the valley from the Trebanos camp. The area around Trebanos is prone to land-slip, and it is so unstable that villagers are not allowed to have mains gas supplied!

The newest camp is on the A40 appox 5 miles west of Brecon. It is easy to spot from the road as there are banners tied to trees for passing cars to see. There is a bus stop near by and places to park so there is no excuse not to go and offer support or take a donation!

Nearby the Brecon protest site there has been spottings of protected species, badgers, owls and bats. National Grid will recklessly destroy their homes, they have been informed and they seem to care very little about it.

Work in Brecon is to start April 2007, National Grid are contracted to delivered gas in October 2007, with dead lines this close work is likely to be rushed meaning short-cuts in safety and environmental issues will be taken, do you think they are a company to be trusted? Brecon Beacon National Park are against this development as the effects on the environment are going to be intense, even if National Grid take every care they can, the land cannot be restored to it’s original beauty.

There are several major safety concerns regarding this pipeline, National Grid have admitted having no experience of dealing with such a big pipeline. The pipeline measuring at 48inches wide and 120miles long will pump odourless gas through at 94bar. Gas pumped through at this speed is designed to travel in straight lines. This pipeline arches, curves and changes in height, therefore pressure points will be created, weakening the structure of the pipe.

National Grid is seeking to site a gas pressure reduction installation (PRI) on about 6 acres of land with 12 chimneys, each 8.5 metres high near Corse/Tirley as part of its overall plan to deliver gas from Milford Haven to Corse/Tirley. Initially 20% of the whole of the UK's gas supply would pass through the proposed PRI though this would inevitably rise towards 40% or more in the future. National Grid proposes delivering gas through a single 48" pipe at high pressure (94 BAR = approx 1,400 lbs per sq inch) which would have to be reduced to 75 BAR (= approx 1,100 lbs per sq inch) before joining the existing small installation near Corse/Tirley. The operating pressure (94 BAR) combined with the size of the pipes (48") is unprecedented in the UK, Europe or US near residential property. National Grid has no experience of working at this very high pressure near residential property.

The people at the Brecon camp desperately need more donations, they need: climbing rope, polyprop or spare rope, climbing equipment, cargo nets, building timber, beams, nails, tarpaulins, scrap metal, food, water carriers, tools, batteries AA and AAA, torches, candles, lighters, boots and warm clothing, air tight containers and bedding. They would also love for more people to come and join them and for people to pop in to offer moral support!

There are a number of different websites with more information:
Fight the Pipe - New website trying to get all the smaller protest groups together.
CAPRI - Campaign against the Pressure Reduction Installation.
Rising Tide - For more information about the pipe.
Earth First - For more information about the pipe.
SchNews - Latest news on the various protests.
Indymedia - Latest news on the various protests.
Indymedia Bristol - Local news on the various protests.
Safe Haven - For more information about the pipe.
Multimap - Map showing the site of the Brecon camp.