The voice of the networks

How can this website be improved? Give us your feedback

Green-fingered gardeners urged to stay safe in National Gardening Week

26 April 2021

As the sun comes out and National Gardening Week begins, the UK’s energy network operators are urging the UK’s gardeners to stay safe.


As the sun comes out and National Gardening Week begins just ahead of the first May bank holiday, the UK’s energy network operators are urging the UK’s gardeners to stay safe.

Gardening is great for mental health and well-being with a recent Royal Horticultural Society poll which shows that more than half of adults enjoy being surrounded by greenery and a further 53% said it boosts their mood.

As green-fingered enthusiasts head into the garden it is vital they all stay safe, especially around gas and electricity infrastructure.

Last year, parts of the country saw a 20% increase in damage to the cables and pipes that make up our energy networks as lockdown restrictions eased.

This is why it is so important, throughout National Gardening Week and the upcoming bank holiday, that people stay safe by making sure that they are aware of any potential underground cables or gas pipes before they carry out any work that involves breaking ground.

Energy Networks Association has advice for gardeners to help them work safely:

  1. Be aware of the location of underground electricity and gas equipment before digging or excavating.
  2. Request location details and plans from energy network companies well in advance of work starting. Remember that these are a guide only – you are responsible for confirming the exact location of all equipment and avoiding damage.
  3. For bigger projects, use a cable avoidance tool to identify the presence of buried cables before you start to dig. Rescan the area as your work progresses.
  4. Hand dig — use safe digging techniques to dig trial holes to establish the line and depth of underground electricity and gas equipment.
  5. Always assume underground cables are live and gas pipes are pressurised. If they appear to be damaged do not approach them and contact your local electricity network operator using 105 for GB (or 03457 643 643 in Northern Ireland) or 0800 111 999 for the GB National Gas Emergency Number (or 0800 002 001 in Northern Ireland).
  6. Take care when lowering the ground levels as there may be underground cables in the area.
  7. If you damage an underground electricity cable, vacate the excavation immediately, phone your electricity network operator’s emergency number and keep everybody clear.

David Spillett, Head of Safety, Health and Environment at Energy Networks Association which represents the UK and Ireland’s energy networks businesses, said:

“The last year has been so difficult for people across the UK but National Gardening Week is a fantastic opportunity to spend some time outdoors and reap the benefits to our health and wellbeing.

“The energy networks include thousands of miles of underground gas pipes and power cables which is why it’s so important for gardeners to follow our simple tips and know what utilities are underground before they break ground.”


About us

Energy Networks Association (ENA) is the industry body representing the energy networks. Our members include every major electricity network operator in the UK. The electricity networks are at the heart of the energy transition. They directly employ more than 26,000 people in the UK, including 1,500 apprentices. They are spending and investing £33bn in our electricity grids over the coming years, to ensure safe, reliable and secure energy supplies for the millions of homes and businesses reliant on power every day.

Press contacts

You can contact ENA's press office by emailing For urgent or out-of-hours enquiries from journalists, please call 0204 599 7691.