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Gilmerton Land Services - specialist in the reclamation of underground services

Case Studies

Inverkip, Inverclyde

The Challenge

Inverkip Inverkip power station was an oil-fired power station in Inverclyde, on the west coast of Scotland. Built in the 1970's, it was rarely used due to soaring oil prices.

The site to be decommissioned was the cable run from the former Inverkip Power station, Inverclyde to the live 400kv Inverkip switching station. The Power Station had been demolished to slab level by Brown and Mason, leaving the redundant 400kv oil filled cables that run from the former power station up to the 400 KV switching station. There were three circuits, three cables per circuit identified as copper cores, paper insulated and aluminium sheathed. There were approximately 49 control cables that follow the same route. The 400kv cables are oil filled and oil had been partially removed from the lower Section (from power station to railway line). The upper section was still full of oil. This was a liability for Scottish Power. The cable route was through woodland, cable tunnels, ducting under Network rail, railway line and through farmland.

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The Former Milltown Airfield

The Challenge

Former Airfield Milltown Airfield RAF Milltown was a former Royal Air Force station located south of the Moray Firth and 3.6 miles (5.8 km) north east of Elgin, Scotland. RAF Miltown began life as a bombing decoy for nearby RAF Lossiemouth. Between 1941 and 1943, three runways and two hangars were constructed and the airfield became a satellite of RAF Lossiemouth.

In July 1946, along with RAF Lossiemouth, Milltown was officially handed over to the Royal Navy as HMS Fulmar II, a Deck Landing Training School.

Flying stopped in 1977 and the site was developed as a communications station, and had some 50 masts visible.

The land was to be handed back to the original owners, Innes Estates, by the MOD. The Estate required that the redundant infrastructure was to be removed in order that it could be ploughed and returned to agriculture.

The site had been decommissioned and all radio masts removed, all power had been isolated and the water remained live.

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SNF Teeside

The Challenge

SNF Teeside The Site had been demolished a number of years ago to slab level and previously had a large number of chemical process buildings on the 40 acre site. The site was first established in 1930 and progressed to be the beginning of the ICI Empire. The site had been derelict for a number of years and had a large amount of vegetation growing over the site with substantial concrete slabs and foundations. Gilmerton Land Services (GLS) identified the potential for the removal of the underground services to release credit to SNF which was previously not identified. The site was located next to an operational chemical works and had a number of live services crossing the site. Over the years a number of the water pipes had been rerouted and not recorded, GLS were able to work in partnership with the Service Controllers to identify the live services, which in turn mitigated any future delays during the construction works of the new plant.

» Click here to download and read the full case study pdf (1.8mb)

NPL Whitehaven

The Challenge

NPL Whitehaven The site was a former mining and chemical site with over 100 years of history the site was latterly owned and operated by Rhodia and manufactured phosphate detergents and is over 100 acres. The site had been demolished for a number of years to slab level. Gilmerton Land services (GLS) identified the potential credit for the recovery of the underground services to the new owner of the site NPL Estates. The site had a large number of concrete floor slabs and areas that had been in filled with crushed demolition rubble which increased the depth of the underground services. The past uses of the site unearthed a number of challenges with large unrecorded voids and landfill drainage pipes all of which GLS worked with the onsite Environmental Consultants to deliver a safe project.

» Click here to download and read the full case study pdf (1.8mb)

RAF Watton

The Challenge

RAF Watton Royal Air Force Station Watton is a former military airfield in Norfolk, England. Opened in 1937 as a permanent Royal Air Force station, it was used by both the RAF and United States Army Air Force during World War II. During the war it was used primarily as a bomber airfield, being the home of RAF Bomber Command squadrons until being used by the United States Army Air Forces Eighth Air Force as a major overhaul depot for B-24 Liberator bombers and as a weather reconnaissance base. After the war, it was returned to RAF use until being turned over to the British Army in the early 1990s. It was closed and put up for sale in 1995 and the technical site was demolished to make way for a new housing development. The Airfield site was sold back to local land owners and the Gilmerton Land Services team were able to offer their experience and knowledge to enable credits to be offered for the redundant infrastructure that remained on site.

» Click here to download and read the full case study pdf (1.8mb)

SSE Ferrybridge

The Challenge

SSE Ferrybridge The site is located adjacent to the operational Ferrybridge C Power station. The Gilmerton Land Services (GLS) work area was located within the busy construction site of the new Multifuel Power Station. GLS was contracted to remove the liability of 2 circuits of oil filled 132KV cables from the work area to allow the new construction works to proceed safely and efficiently. GLS had to work in partnership with other contractors and maintain good communications to ensure works were carried out safely between all operatives on site. The Key objective was for GLS was to remove the environmental liability of the cable. The cable had been re-routed by others and the redundant section remained for GLS to recover and recycle. The cable was made of copper cores, corrugated aluminium sheath and oil fluid tubes.

» Click here to download and read the full case study pdf (1.8mb)

ST Twynells Former RAF Radar Station - November 2011


ST Twynells Former RAF Radar StationIn the 1950's when the ROTOR radar project was set up, a GCI station known as RAF St.Twynnells was constructed in an R6 two level surface bunker.

After closure, the site of 20 acres was reverted back to agriculture after the RAF handed the land back to the local farmer and the majority of buildings associated with the station remained largely intact.


As is the case with many of these former military sites, all the disused underground services remain intact and abandoned. As seen from the photos, these services are not apparent and could easily go un-noticed.

The problem with sites like these is that landowners do not realize that these services remain underground and that they could subsequently financially benefit from these assets.

ST Twynells Former RAF Radar StationGilmerton Land Services discovered this site during research carried out by its dedicated team. The next step was to approach the owner for permission to survey the site. After the site survey a credit offer was made to the owner. This was accepted and work began to remove these services.

All disused cable was removed within a 7 day period and the ground reinstated. Approximately 30 tons of various grade cable were removed from this one site resulting in a credit of 11,000 Being paid to the farmer.

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The Ardeer peninsula in Ayrshire

ArdeerThe Ardeer peninsula in Ayrshire is a gigantic sand dune - it was chosen by Alfred Nobel in 1871 as the site for his British Dynamite Factory. It soon grew into the world's largest explosives factory, making explosives for mining and quarrying, and expanding into other explosives and propellants for both civilian and military uses.

In 1926 Nobel Explosives became part of ICI (Imperial Chemical Industries) and production shifted away from Ardeer. So the factory diversified into other non-explosive products, but unfortunately these were not very successful - so a large part of the original site became derelict. However a small part of the factory still remains in operation today.

Gilmerton Land Services were awarded the contract by NPL Estates to decommission the site.

Contract Requirements:
  • Isolate and cap off 15 miles of underground water mains to reduce water leakages and to recover along with 20 miles of cable
  • Mass demolition of substantial unsafe structures.
  • To work independently of other contractors.
  • Complete removal of all unsafe debris and demolition material.
ArdeerThe current factory (Chemring Energetics UK Ltd (CEUK)) operating on the site needed to be isolated in every respect from the derelict area. We were able to work alongside the factory efficiently and speedily with no interference to the daily activities. Due to old piping in place significant water loss was occurring amounting to 1000s daily, this was resolved by capping off redundant sections of the pipelines and carried out with no interference of the operations in the factory In addition:
  • 200 disused manholes made safe all this resulted in no cost to the client but resulted in a credit of tens of thousands of pounds from the retrieved assets.
  • Provision of an efficient clean-up of these unwanted services prior to redevelopment and environmental advantages to the site.

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Bishopton - BAE Systems

Bronze Award 2007 - Generating Cash from Hidden AssetsThis former Royal Ordnance explosives factory was one of the largest of its kind in Europe where GLS have removed 20,000 tons of disused underground services to date, generating several million pounds in revenue for the client.

We would add that through the course of completing this project, we were honoured in 2007 to receive a Chairman's Bronze Award for because they recognised us as people whose ideas, actions and behaviours were making BAE Systems a better, more competitive company.

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Ministry of Defence USAF Greenham Common

Greenham CommonGreenham Common's long association with the USAF started in April 1951 when an extensive Airfield rebuilding programme was begun, with a 10,000 foot runway and fully serviced together with the infrastructure for the 97th air refuelling squadron.

In 1980 the airfield's infrastructure was fully refurbished and part of the 1,000 acre site was chosen to be one of two sites in Britain where US cruise missiles were to be deployed. Greenham Common closed in 1989 following the signing of the INF Treaty.

A decision was made to bring the site back to "common land" (which by now parts of it were designated as SSSI). This resulted in the necessity for Gilmerton Land Services to identify and remove all underground services, including a very elaborate underground fuel system, which had to be drained and cleaned before removal.

Approximately 30 miles of underground services were removed, consisting of HV, LV, security, AFL, cables and pipelines, some of which dated back to the 1940's. All material was graded and marketed and all of the 16 electrical substations were decommissioned and removed by Gilmerton Land Services.

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Caerwent - MoD

Caerwent MoDA former Royal Naval Explosives factory of some 1,600 acres and we successfully removed 6,000 tons of disused underground services, together with the decommissioning of 15 substations at no cost and bringing in a revenue for MoD of 50,000.

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BAE Systems - (formally Royal Ordnance)

RO ChorleyRO Chorley The Royal Ordnance Factory at Chorley was opened by HM George VI on 31st March 1939 and until 1990 produced explosives and filled bombs.

The factory was hailed the finest civil building construction in the World, employing 15,000 building workers to complete it and requiring 20 million bricks, 1 million cubic yards of concrete (which required the World's largest concrete mixer 120' high and turning out 5,000 tons of concrete in one day), 50 miles of roads and 25 miles of railway tracks.

In 1998 British Aerospace started a major decontamination and demolition programme. Gilmerton Land Services were chosen to specifically remove all disused underground services and decommission 14 major substations.

GLS's requirement was to recover 100 miles of disused power cables and water mains within this programme and the necessity to identify and retain live services within the site was of utmost importance. GLS successfully carried this out, leaving the site infrastructually tidy under the ground. GLS segregated and marketed several thousand tons of recovered material.

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Clients of Gilmerton Land Services have already benefitted from site recovery work with CASH BACK deals up to 1.5 million.
Cash Back pipe pic
Oil filled electricity cables have been put underground since about 1960 in the U.K. These cables can prove to be a logistical and environmental problem if left in the ground still full of insulation oil after decommissioning read more...
Power cable oil removal

Redundant Service Removal, Ardeer

NPL have engaged specialist contractor Gilmerton Land Services to remove redundant utilities thus paving the way for new development.

Simon Towers, Managing Director of NPL Estates, said: "We are delighted to be able to run these projects at Ardeer in a time of financial uncertainty and seek to better place ourselves for the recovery. We continue to engage with North Ayrshire Council, the local community and our industrial neighbours to bring to fruition other areas of the site with the development of the Peninsula golf course remaining high on the agenda."

Redundant Service Removal, Ardeer