Pipelines and the environment : a study of hydrocarbon pipeline construction and environmental impact in Scotland
This thesis examines the development and expansion of the UK onshore oil and gas pipeline network in Scotland which occurred in the 1970s and 80s as a result of the exploitation of oil and gas resources of the Central and Northern North Sea. In 1974 the first pipeline landfall in Scotland was established at Cruden bay, north of Aberdeen, and a pipeline onshore was laid to link that landfall with the Grangemouth refinery. In the period 1974-1984 the construction of major cross-country pipelines linking the north east of Scotland with the central belt and markets of England became an almost annual occurrence. The routing process and an analysis of the routes adopted is the subject of Chapter 4. It was calculated that over 2,000km of cross-country pipeline have been constructed in Scotland since 1974, involving disturbance of 2,000ha of land, 94% of which was in agricultural use, 2% woodland, 2% moorland and rough ground, 1% wetland, and 1&37 roads and railways. This research examined the impact of piplines on different land uses, and the quantification of pipeline impacts is the subject of Chapter 5. The emphasis of the research was on impacts on agriculture focussing upon intensive grazing and cereal crops in eastern Scotland, and upon extensive moorland grazing in Shetland. The analysis used a sampling approach with the selection of 13 sites in eastern Scotland and the study of the entire onshore length of the Brent and Ninian pipelines in Shetland. It was noted that in some circumstances pipelines have resulted in a decrease in crop yield and in other cases led to an increase in yield. In most cases there is no significant difference, the result of the successful reinstatement of ground conditions, and where differences do occur it is unlikely that they are any more than of statistical significance. The importance of pipeline impacts is considered in Chapter 6. The hazardous nature of the materials transported within the pipelines results in there being an impact outwith the area of disturbed land. This is the result of restrictions placed upon development in the vicinity of 'major hazards'; restrictions could apply to some 24,000ha of land in Scotland. However, because pipelines are principally routed in rural areas where other development control policies apply, pipelines have not acted as a major restriction upon rural development.