Bramley fuel leak leads to extreme caution due to increased risk of underground explosion

Manhole with do not enter  danger printed across
-Credit: (Image: SurreyLive)


A large fuel leak in Bramley has increased the likelihood of an explosion within the Openreach network. Underground ducts have measured above the ‘Lower Explosive Limit’ meaning that an ignition source could lead to an explosion

Across the village manholes have been sprayed over with “Do not Enter. Danger” after the network was assessed to be unsafe to access, with Openreach proceeding with extreme caution.

At least 300 metres of underground ducts in the area are thought to have been affected by the fuel issue, created after a fuel leak at a petrol station now owned by ASDA. The leak which was caused before ASDA took ownership has created years of problems for local residents including foul smells as well as an ongoing ‘do not drink’ notice for tap water at 600 homes and a school.

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There is ongoing work to clean up the fuel, as well as fix the issues it has caused. Clearing the ducts will involve lots of detailed coordination amongst the affected organisations, relevant authorities and specialists.

Openreach has instructed a specialist contractor, OHES, to advise them and has already put safety measures in place to mitigate any immediate risk.

Experts will need to extract vapour and fuel from the network, and the surrounding groundwater, over a period of several months. Once complete, the ducts will need to be cleaned, and damage repaired before normal working conditions can return.

Area outside church blocked off
Sections of pavement have been sectioned off as work to clear the ducts continues -Credit:SurreyLive

Openreach has been advised that this process could take up to 12 months. Already barriers have been put up outside the local Church, Holy Trinity Bramley, limiting the pavement space.

An Openreach spokesperson said: “The ongoing petrol leak in Bramley has affected part of our underground telecommunications network. We’re working closely with the Local Authorities, communication providers and other organisations to resolve the incident as quickly and safely as possible.

Right now, the direct impact to customers is minimal. If a fault occurs in the network, we may be able to fix it remotely, without having to access our underground cables. But if an issue does originate in the affected area, we won’t be able to solve it immediately. In these cases, we’ll be working with Communications Providers to provide alternative and temporary services until we can.

We will continue to update our people, partners and customers as work progresses. If you experience a problem with your phone or broadband service, please report it to your provider (the organisation you pay your bill to) and we will be informed.”

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