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In March, the North of England’s gas distributer, Northern Gas Networks, will be beginning work to dismantle St Anthony’s gas holder in Walker, Newcastle.

St Anthony’s is a 135ft (41m) tall, steel construction built in 1902 and could store up to 5.4 million cubic feet of gas – enough to supply more than 7000 homes for a full day, or 170,000 homes for an hour.

For around 100 years the holder was a vital part of the local gas supply system, responsible for supplying gas to thousands of residents in the area.  In more recent years it has been used to bolster the network’s gas supplies during colder weather, and at peak times in the early evenings. Advances in technology and the enhanced capability of the modern-day gas network, however, mean that this gas holder is no longer required.

Earlier this month Northern Gas Networks held a community forum with local residents, to explain the decommissioning process, answer any questions and concerns, and encourage members of the public to share their memories of the holder.

Main works contractor KDC will commence work to dismantle the gas holder, using tried and tested techniques to clear the site in a safe and environmentally friendly way.  Long-armed shears will be used to take apart the structure and the site will be cleared of all redundant equipment. The work will take approximately 16 weeks to complete.

Tim Harwood, Programme Manager Major Projects said; “The decision has been made to dismantle St Anthony’s gas holder as it no longer serves a purpose in maintaining gas supplies to the local area. The ongoing costs of keeping the gas holder in good repair have become economically unviable.”

As part of the deconstruction work, a number of environmental initiatives are being considered such as treating and solidifying the oily sludge that has settled at the bottom of the gasholder tank, recycling all the steel and wraught iron from the gasholder and re-using the spoil dug up from Northern Gas Networks essential gas mains replacement works in the area, to backfill the site. This helps to reduce Northern Gas Networks’ carbon footprint, saving trips to landfill sites and the need to import expensive stone from local quarries.

St Anthony’s gas holder has become a local landmark over the years, and Northern Gas Networks is encouraging local residents or workers to share their memories and photographs of the gas holder, by emailing them to gasholdermemories@northerngas.co.uk or contacting us through Facebook or Twitter.

The column-guided design of St Anthony’s gas holder includes three separate massive diameter sections which lift telescopically as the holder fills with gas.

The UK’s gasholders were originally built to store gas made from coal at a local gasworks. With the discovery of North Sea gas, the gas holders increasingly became redundant and were eventually phased out as new gas pipelines were laid to supply gas to homes.

For further information about this project, please contact our Customer Care team on 0845 634 0508 and select option 7.