PLANS to install a 4km underground natural gas pipeline from the outskirts of Helsby to the Stanlow refinery have been lodged with Cheshire West and Chester Council.

The proposal, which aims to complement the HyNet North West project, would see the pipeline installed from near the Chester-Helsby railway line, go under land near Hapsford, underneath the M56 motorway, under the A5117 School Lane and link up with the Stanlow Manufacturing Complex.

Applicants Dalcour Maclaren, on behalf of Vertex Hydrogen Ltd, explained the supply of natural gas would be used to produce hydrogen, which in turn would be supplied to participating energy intensive industrial gas users to achieve significant CO2 emission reductions.

The proposed 30cm-diameter pipeline would allow Stanlow to provide supplementary natural gas to run all plants at full capacity, and used as a back-up pipeline if needed.

An above-ground installation would be created at either end of the pipeline.

The applicants say talks have taken place with National Rail to ensure there would be no adverse effects from the development, and talks have commenced with National Highways to discuss how the new pipeline can be installed under the M56 motorway between Junctions 14 and 15. Discussions have also taken place with respective landowners on how best to minimise disruption.

Installation of the pipeline would involve a corridor of construction, about 26 metres wide, to accommodate the pipeline trench, a working area for excavators, a storage area for excavated materials, and a haul road for vehicles to travel along the corridor. The corridor would, at various points, widen to 50 metres to allow for the welding of pipe sections. Where there are hedgerow crossings, the corridor will be narrowed to 15 metres wide, and the hedgerow would be replanted following construction.

The corridor would also be narrowed for construction area near the former Royal Ordnance Factory Dunham-on-the-Hill munitions depot.

The land where construction of the pipeline takes place would be returned to its previous condition following the installation.

Applicants added: "The application supports the rollout of cleaner, low carbon hydrogen which will contribute towards achieving the aims set out in the local authority's Climate Emergency Response Plan, which in turn responds to the Climate Emergency Action Plan prepared by central government.

"As has been widely reported on, progress has been made in achieving the nationally set carbon emission reduction target."

The plans will be decided by the council at a later date.