Scotia Gas/SGN wriggle out of their responsibilities

In their representation to WSCC regarding the Crouchland Biogas application, Scotia Gas Networks advised "Our pioneering partnership with Crouchland Biogas Ltd has the potential to become the first project to utilise biomethane produced at a location remote from the gas network"

This pioneering partnership now seems to have been downgraded and swept under the carpet after this response today to our recent questions to them;

''Thank you for your enquiry. We don’t actually purchase or own any of the gas produced or distributed through our network. Our main responsibility as a gas network company is to deliver a safe and secure gas supply to homes and businesses throughout the UK, ensuring gas quality is maintained at all times. We don’t produce gas or indeed own the gas, and all biogas companies have their own relationships and contractual arrangements with gas shippers.

The UK Government has a legally binding target whereby 15% of its energy consumption must come from renewable sources by 2020, while the target for 2050 is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by at least 80%, relative to 1990 levels and we support this wholeheartedly. Biomethane is widely regarded as a low-cost and scalable form of renewable and low-carbon heat and its use as a fuel can help our Government towards meeting the country’s energy goals. It’s important therefore that companies such as ourselves do what we can to promote the widest possible use of biogas across the UK, while ensuring it meets UK quality standards and providing the connection facilities for operators for their gas to be injected into the wider network. Biogas therefore performs an important role in helping to achieve a low-carbon and sustainable UK economy.

With specific reference to Crouchland Biogas Ltd. Following the West Sussex County Council (WSCC) planning committee hearing last week we await to see the detailed minutes from the meeting although we understand Crouchland Biogas Ltd may seek to appeal. To our knowledge, there are currently no enforcement notices in respect of their site and, as such, their current operations are not illegal. We will continue to monitor the situation very closely as it now develops.''

Why therefore did the CEO state in the 2013 SGN Annual Report and Accounts, 'In March 2013, just 3 months after the opening of Poundbury we signed contracts for a further biogas plant. This 20 year deal is our latest greening the gas initiative and is heralded as being even more pioneering than Poundbury. Our partner is Crouchland Biogas Ltd and the project has the potential to be 4 times the size of Poundbury. Please note that he did NOT say, 'We signed contracts just to provide the connection facilities with Crouchland Biogas'

Crouchland Biogas' current operations may not be illegal, but are Scotia`s actions in accepting gas from an operator who has had planning permission refused, morally correct and commercially sound ?

If you feel like making contact with Scotia/SGN may we suggest you email any of the following;

john.morea@sgn.co.uk Chief Executive Officer

colin.thomson@sgn.co.uk leads the Biomethane Connections Team

 Richard.lowes@sgn.co.uk  Public Affairs and Policy Manager

Their website is https://www.sgn.co.uk/

Their safety policy includes; 'Safety is at the heart of everything we do, whether it's the safety of our customers, the general public, our employees or contractors. We are committed to protecting the safety of the public, and to safeguarding each other and those who work with us by operating an injury-free and healthy workplace. Our health and safety policy sets out how we fulfil this commitment.'

Their CEO is quoted in the website as saying;    "What we do as a business affects your lives and the communities we all live and work in. Its vital we listen to whats important to you, keep you informed about our business activities and ensure your feedback becomes part of our decision-making process and is part of our everyday way of working.”

Let's keep the pressure on.