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A project in the North of England which used solar powered pumps to clean up contaminated land at a former gas holder site has notched up another prestigious national award.

Northern Gas Networks, the gas distributor for the North of England, won the Sustainability category at the Ground Engineering Awards, held this month (June 2019) at the Hilton Hotel, Park Lane, London, for its project at Redheugh, Gateshead.

The project, delivered in partnership with Sweco UK Limited and Geo2 Remediation Limited, used solar powered pumps to remove more than 5,100 litres of toxic coal tar from an underground tank on the site of a former gas holder.

Through the use of only solar power, the gas distributor saved the equivalent of more than 55 tonnes of CO2 and approximately £23,000 in running costs.

The project has won a further three prestigious industry awards over the past 12 months.

Neil Whalley, Environmental Strategy Manager at for Northern Gas Networks, said: “This project has really captured the imagination of people working in utilities and civil engineering.

“Using solar power allowed us to reduce CO2 emissions, avoid the noise of petrol generators on site, and reduce vehicle movements associated with waste disposals.

“At Northern Gas Networks, we’re committed to reducing our environmental impact on the customers and communities that we serve, and where possible make a positive impact.”

NGN is now exploring the use of solar power on future projects.

For around 100 years gas holders were a vital part of the local gas supply system, responsible for supplying gas to thousands of people across the country. However, advances in technology and the enhanced capability of the modern-day gas network mean that gas holders are no longer in use.

NGN is aiming to dismantle 23 of the region’s gas holders by 2021 as part of continued investment in modernising the gas network.