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Gunnislake locals have come together to celebrate the environmental improvement work that Wales & West Utilities have done on the site of the former Gunnislake gasworks.

To mark the end of the work and to commemorate the history of the gasworks, a local blacksmith was commissioned to produce a sculpture for the site gates and this was unveiled at a ceremony attended by members of the local community. The sculpture provides visitors with a history of the site, which is an industrial heritage point of interest along the Discovery Trail in the Tamar Valley Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

Gas emergency and pipeline service Wales & West Utilities, which inherited the land when it was set up in 2005, spent five months carrying out work which included cleaning up the byproducts of gas production and gas storage that were still in the ground.

L-R Oliver Lancaster, Wales & West Utilities’ Principal Environmental Engineer and Ashley Griffiths, Asset Property & Environment Manager.

Working closely with Cornwall Council and the Environment Agency – the environmental regulators, in planning and undertaking this work, the company has also softened the appearance of the site boundary with green fences that will host locally sourced climbing plants and has also cultivated a wildflower area for the benefit of nature and walkers alike. 

Wales & West Utilities’ Principal Environmental Engineer, Oliver Lancaster, unveiled the sculpture and said:

“The area surrounding Gunnislake is an important part of our industrial heritage and the Tamar was used, not only for transporting goods, but people as well. When the Gunnislake gasworks opened coal was brought up through the canal.

“After we environmentally improved the site of the former gasworks we wanted to do something for the benefit of local people and visitors to the area and the commissioned sculpture seemed a fitting tribute.

“Now that it’s in place, we hope that for years to come people will be able to learn of the importance of this area and the part it’s had to play in our history.”

Dorothy Kirk, Cornwall Councillor for Gunnislake and Calstock, said:

“I am genuinely delighted that this part of Gunnislake’s past has been commemorated for posterity, standing, as it does, on the Tamar Valley Discovery Trail, which goes through some of the most beautiful countryside that you could ever see.

“The plaques on the gate are a really good example of modern craftsmanship and the history of the site, finely engraved in delicate lettering under the main design, which is comprehensive and enlightening. I am grateful to Wales & West Utilities for respecting the site and investing in the interpretation of the industrial archaeology of the Tamar Valley at Gunnislake.”

Wales & West Utilities, the gas emergency and pipeline service, takes pride in serving Wales and the south west of England. If anyone smells gas, thinks they have a gas leak, or suspects carbon monoxide poisoning, they should call us on 0800 111 999 and our engineers will be there to help, day or night. 

The company also has a multi-million pound, 30-year gas pipe investment programme which began in 2002. Old metal pipes within 30 metres of buildings are being replaced with new long-lasting plastic pipes with a lifespan of more than 80 years, to make sure homes and businesses continue to receive a safe and reliable gas supply now and in the future.