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  • Writer's pictureGGS Scotland

A new dawn for ground gas monitoring in Scotland

Updated: Dec 2, 2021

GGS Scotland is launching at a really interesting and exciting time for all those involved in the ground gas sector. Managing hazardous gases in the ground and in the air has long played an important role in the management of existing industries and the planning of new developments.

The coming few years will present some fascinating challenges and opportunities. And we're going to explore just a few of these in this blog.

Social housing development on previously vacant land
Social housing development on previously vacant land

Housing development & vacant land

While the Covid pandemic may have temporarily delayed the commencement and construction of housing developments across the country, the need for additional housing, particularly social housing, remains acute in many areas. On-going Government focus on derelict and vacant land is likely to see many more such housing developments proposed on challenging sites.

Accurate and cost-effective characterisation of ground gas risk at such sites will be critical in helping to unlock urgently needed new housing across the country.

Coal wagons on the Polmaise-Stirling railway, 1942
Coal wagons on the Polmaise-Stirling railway, 1942

Mining legacy

Coupled with the increasing need for additional housing, as a sector we'll need to keep our eyes on the legacy of the Gorebridge incident. While this is (and always has been) some really good practice on mines gas risk assessment, there remains far to many risk assessments which are superficial and generic in nature.

While local authorities are rightly requiring ever more detailed assessments to support residential development on sites affected by former mining, it feels like there is more that we need to do as a sector. We need to ensure our risk assessments are robust and appropriately detailed whenever the potential for credible mines gas risks are suspected.

Diagram of green hydrogen production for domestic heating.
Diagram of green hydrogen production for domestic heating.

Hydrogen economy

Looking further forward, Scotland is fortunate to be hosting one of the earliest trials of domestic hydrogen supply for heating and cooking.

SGN's H100 trial hydrogen grid in Buckhaven may well provide a template for de-carbonising domestic heating my mid-decade.

While the greenhouse gas emissions reduction of such technologies is obvious, it remains to be seen how timely leak detection hydrogen, both within homes and the wider distribution network, will be managed. Due to hydrogen's particular properties, this topic will doubtless provide interesting technical challenges in the coming years.

Off-shore wind turbines
Sustainable energy future is essential to tackling the climate emergency.

Climate change

Of course, underpinning all developments, and indeed our own activities is the growing emergency that is climate change.

Along with it's many broader impacts, climate change will impact on the ground gas sector in a multitude of ways, some of which we can't fully appreciate the implications of.

At GGS Scotland, we will remain alert to these changes and will adapt and change how we undertake ground gas risk assessment at these impacts become better understood. In the meantime, we firmly believe that climate change is everybody's problem. And for our part, we will continue to scrutinise every part of our operations and avail of every practical opportunity to reduce our carbon footprint. We'll have some exciting announcements on this front in the months ahead, so keep an eye out.

All in all, GGS Scotland is launching at a fascinating time for the ground gas sector!


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