GL Noble Denton was awarded the Gas Industry Safety Award for Safety Related Research 2010 by the Gas Industry Safety Group (GISG) as part of their 'Decade of Excellence Awards'. The award recognises safety research programmes, which have contributed to a continual improvement in gas safety in the UK over the past ten years.
Between 1997 and 1999, GL Noble Denton developed a risk assessment model to identify individual distribution mains for replacement, known as mains replacement prioritisation system (MRPS). MRPS allocates a risk value to each individual pipe segment based upon analysis of historical data in order to predict its likelihood to leak and cause an explosion. The system was implemented in 2000 by Transco, one of the largest investor-owned energy companies in the world.
MRPS is also part of a long-term project to replace mains throughout the UK. In 2002, a 30-year mains replacement programme was introduced into the UK. This mandatory programme involves the replacement of all ferrous distribution mains within 30m of property, with first priority to replace those mains presenting the greatest risk of leakage and subsequent explosion. MRPS was adopted as the primary risk assessment tool for the prioritisation of the replacement of approximately 100,000km of metallic main in the UK, corresponding to a 25% reduction.
As of 2010, this replacement process is considered the largest and most comprehensive mains replacement programme undertaken anywhere in the world, and has already reduced overall risk by 53%. The system has continued to be used by all UK distribution networks, even following the sale of four gas networks in 2005 by National Grid (formally Transco), ensuring that all networks are following a consistent and objective process for the identification of risk. MRPS has also been endorsed by the UK Health and Safety Executive, the government agency responsible for prevention of workplace injuries in the UK. In addition to the UK, the same methodology is also used to assist in the identification of risk from distribution mains operating in Europe and the US.
The award was accepted by Rosemary McAll and Mark Brundle from GL Noble Denton's transmission and distribution practice, based in Loughborough, during an event held at the Guildhall.