§ 24. Mr. Golding
asked the Minister for Energy whether he will issue a general direction to the British Gas Corporation that in the interests of public safety external plastic gas pipes should include a strip of detectable metal.
§ Mr. Golding
Is the Minister aware that it is absolutely essential that those digging trenches should be able to detect the presence of gas mains, which is most easily done by incorporating a metal strip or pipe? It would be most unfortunate were a severe explosion to occur because a plough was put through a plastic tube.
§ Mr. Emery
I accept that full and proper safety precautions should be taken by all people digging in an area where there are gas pipes and gas mains, but the introduction of a metallic strip in a plastic pipe as part of the extrusion process would inevitably reduce the mechanical strength of the pipe and introduce the risk of a running split if damage occurred.
§ Mr. Robert C. Brown
Does the Minister not accept that since the introduction of the use of plastic piping the public utilities have made a careful record of all newly-laid plastic pipes? It would be nonsense for any public utility to dig willy-nilly without checking with the authority to find where the plastic pipes are laid.