Energy ministers and regulators from both Britain and cross-Channel neighbor Belgium are meeting to ensure that the gas Interconnector artery between the two nations is utilized to its full capacity this winter, the Independent newspaper has reported.

The preemptive move comes in response to concerns that a repeat of last year’s debacle, where the crucial connecting pipeline operated at barely half capacity despite huge UK demand, could reoccur.

The Interconnector pipeline between Belgium and the UK is the main source of imported gas for the British market and, despite other infrastructure coming online in the last 12 months to aid supply, the efficient use of the pipeline is crucial to Britain meeting its domestic gas demand during the coldest months of the year.

However, critics are likely to suggest that Belgium should not be the destination for the UK delegation if progress is to be achieved on securing reliable and adequate supply. With gas prices in the UK the highest in Europe, a fully open market should result in plenty of gas reaching UK shores. The fact that this has not been occurring is evidence, the critics say, that supply is being held up on the continent in countries where market liberalization should have occurred but has not.

Meanwhile, the Interconnectors operators have blamed a lack of pipeline infrastructure from Russia for its under-use.