This consultation relates to the review of the Gas Safety (Management) Regulations 1996 (GSMR). These regulations apply to the conveyance of natural gas through pipes to domestic and other consumers. The regulations cover four main areas:
- the safe management of gas flow through a network, particularly those parts supplying domestic consumers, and a duty to minimise the risk of a gas supply emergency arrangements for dealing with supply emergencies
- arrangements for dealing with supply emergencies
- arrangements for dealing with reported gas escapes and gas incidents
- gas composition
Having assessed the current body of safety evidence, HSE has concluded that there are still outstanding safety and practicality questions for some proposals which need to be addressed before making legislative changes. At this stage, HSE is therefore seeking views on the below set of changes:
- A new lower Wobbe number (WN) limit
- To remove the Incomplete Combustion Factor (ICF) and the Soot Index (SI) limits in Schedule 3 and introduce a relative density of ≤0.700
- To incorporate the HSE class exemption limit of ≤1 mol% for oxygen in gases conveyed at pressures up to 38 barg
- Clarity that biomethane pipelines are to be considered to be part of the gas network
- Clarity that co-operation duties apply to operators of liquefied natural gas (LNG) import facilities
- For a general duty on the industry to provide a continuously manned telephone service
These changes would enable:
- The adaptation of prescriptive GB regulation for gas composition contained in GSMR Schedule 3 that is restricting the sources of gas sitting outside of current specifications being used in the gas transmission and distribution network
- A greater diversity of gas resources to be accessed from biogas and across the North Sea including both the United Kingdom Continental Shelf (UKCS) and the Norwegian sector
- Reduced gas processing, potentially making gas supplies greener and easier to secure and more economically viable
- Regulations to be updated and modernised in order to ensure safety standards are consistently applied across today’s gas network
- These changes contribute to wider strategic Government objectives of security of energy supply and decarbonisation of the energy sector as the UK moves to Net Zero carbon emissions by 2050.
It is also important to note that by law, any changes to health and safety regulations must maintain or improve the health, safety and welfare standards already established and so this is another crucial strategic objective of the GSMR review.
The proposed changes also provide an opportunity to modernise GSMR in parallel to take account of significant changes to the industry since 1996. Have your say by emailing: GSMRConsultation@hse.gov.uk. The consultation closes on 21st March 2022.