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Ritchie Welcomes Development of Down Natural Gas Network

Ritchie Welcomes Development of Down Natural Gas Network

01 February 2017

South Down MP Margaret Ritchie has welcomed news that the natural gas pipeline will be extended towards Ballynahinch and Downpatrick in 2017, enabling more home and business owners throughout County Down to connect to the network and avail of the benefits of natural gas.

Phoenix Natural Gas met recently with Ms Ritchie at her constituency office in Downpatrick to brief her on the network extension and planned works programme for 2017. The meeting included a specific focus on work scheduled for the main commuter route, Belfast Road, due to commence in February 2017.

Since announcing a major expansion project worth £60 million in 2016, Phoenix Natural Gas has been working to extend the gas pipeline and bring natural gas to a further 13 towns across the county, connecting 28,000 homes and businesses over the next few years.

Speaking after the meeting, Ms Ritchie said, “I am delighted to hear that the natural gas pipeline is now being extended towards areas of South Down. This is a highly anticipated project that will bring enormous benefits to home and business owners located within the 13 towns included in the extension programme.”

“I am keen to ensure that the planned works programme is undertaken efficiently and safely, with as little disruption to traffic and communities as possible. Having met with Phoenix Natural Gas, I am satisfied that, whilst an element of disruption is inevitable with an infrastructure project of this size, the project has been well considered.”

“In addition, appropriate authorities and stakeholders have been consulted with to develop a smart and efficient works programme. I look forward to overseeing the programme as it progresses and welcoming natural gas connections within South Down.”

Jonathan Martindale, Sales and Marketing Director at Phoenix Natural Gas, said; “After 20 years developing the natural gas network in Northern Ireland, Phoenix Natural Gas has a strong reputation in managing the construction of major pipeline projects, having constructed over 3,500km of pipeline to date in the Greater Belfast licence area.”

“This major expansion project involves laying over 350km of pipeline over the next number of years. In 2017, the planned works will include extending the natural gas pipeline from Hillsborough, through Ballynahinch towards Downpatrick, bringing the benefits of natural gas to even more customers.”

“We are very aware of the potential disruption and impact these road works may have on communities and are engaging with relevant stakeholders to communicate key information as we progress the pipeline build.”

“We are delighted to have the opportunity to brief Ms Ritchie, who was a key proponent of extending the benefits of natural gas to this area. We will continue to engage with local political representatives, businesses and community groups to help ensure a smooth works programme in the delivery of natural gas to County Down.”

For more information on the benefits of natural gas visit


(Caption): South Down MP Margaret Ritchie welcomes news that development of the natural gas pipeline in areas of South Down is underway and is pictured meeting recently with Jonathan Martindale, Director, and Denver Wasson, Senior Engineer, of Phoenix Natural Gas for an update on the 2017 construction programme. For more information on the benefits of natural gas visit


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