UKOPA has extensive knowledge and experience in the area of pipeline risk assessment. This knowledge has been codified in IGEM/TD/2 – Application of Pipeline Risk Assessment to the Proposed Developments in the Vicinity of High Pressure Natural Gas Pipelines, site and PD 8010_3:2009 – Guide to the application of pipeline risk assessment to proposed developments in the vicinity of major hazard pipelines containing flammables.
The above documents can be used by pipeline operators and developers to assess the risks associated with proposed new developments from an existing pipeline. Pipelines which are classed as major accident hazard pipelines (MAHPs) under the Pipelines Safety Regulations 1996 are subject to land use planning controls and Local Planning Authorities are required to consult the HSE for advice regarding the acceptability of proposed developments on safety grounds in the vicinity of these pipelines.
The HSE’s advice has been codified in their PADHI (Planning Advice for Developments near Hazardous Installations) guidance and the Local Authority would take account of this advice when making a decision on the acceptability of a planning application. If the Local Authority does not allow the proposed development to proceed because of the advice in the PADHI guidance document then the developer can undertake a QRA (quantitative risk assessment) using the reference codes.
The QRA can be used to determine the additional risk at the location as a result of the proposed development. It should take account of any local features at the location that may reduce the risk such as sections of pipeline with greater wall thickness. The calculated risk levels can be compared with target measures of acceptable risk. If the risk levels appear to be high it is also possible to assess whether the risks can be further reduced through modifying the layout of the development or taking additional pipeline protection measures. Developers will need to discuss the practicality of applying these measures with the pipeline operator.