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Key infrastructure works completed in Enniskillen

Key infrastructure works completed in Enniskillen

Posted: 21 Oct, 2021

In one of the largest single pieces of infrastructure development ever to take place in the island town of Enniskillen, the work to install a natural gas pipeline across Lough Erne at the Fermanagh Lakeland Forum was recently completed by SGN Natural Gas.
Limited access to mains gas is already available in the area and the major challenge was to get the infrastructure from one side of Lough Erne to the other, to facilitate the continued expansion of the distribution network. Fermanagh and Omagh District Council (FODC) gave the go-ahead earlier this year for the river crossing to take the live natural gas infrastructure to the town centre and surrounding areas. 
In order to get the pipeline to the Sligo Road, three crossing points were critical; the Lakeland Forum site, Derrychara playing fields, and the privately owned Castle Gate (formerly Lochside) Marina on Old Rossorry Road.
David Butler, Director of SGN Natural Gas, thanked all three stakeholders for their positive engagement in facilitating the major river crossing. “It’s important to acknowledge that without the co-operation of FODC, the Education Authority and the owners of Castle Gate Marina, this project would simply not have been possible.”
Investment in the new energy infrastructure will enable local households to avail of natural gas for their home heating requirements. The drilling phases of the river crossings were completed recently, and once the remaining elements of this project have been completed, natural gas will be available to customers in the town centre and west side of Enniskillen. 
Speaking on behalf of the owners of Castle Gate Marina, Geoff Cameron said they welcomed the opportunity to help facilitate the installation of the new energy infrastructure which would ultimately benefit the local community. 
Mr Cameron explained that NI Water had already been carrying out separate works at the Marina site on a major sewage replacement programme for Enniskillen over the last two years. “SGN Natural Gas recently finished their drilling programme to bring the new gas infrastructure across the river at the Marina, and they have been a pleasure to work with also. We were delighted to assist them to enable the rest of the town to avail of a natural gas connection, well ahead of schedule.”
Mr Cameron also expressed his thanks to the berth holders at the Marina for their patience while the work was completed in the busy boating season, as the timing in August/early September was important to correspond with fish migration in the Erne. He added that the owners were looking forward to the environmental element of the reinstatement work in progress, which will include new tree planting to encourage flora and fauna. There are also plans for a beekeeping project on the Marina site.

David Butler added: “The SGN Natural Gas network is one of the clear pathways to an affordable, decarbonised future that can deliver significant environmental benefits for everyone as we all ultimately move to a target net zero carbon environment by 2050. As Northern Ireland’s newest natural gas operator, the network is also uniquely positioned to lead on the future delivery of hydrogen as a means of heating homes and powering businesses with a more positive impact on the environment.”

Over 2,100 customers were connected to the network as of September 2021, and conversions are steadily rising to meet ongoing consumer demand with plans to connect up to 40,000 customers in eight key towns by 2056.