Esso is replacing 90km of its 105km underground aviation fuel pipeline that runs from Southampton to London. A large portion of the existing pipeline, and the new route for the replacement pipeline, passes through Surrey Heath.
Esso has been consulting local residents, who have raised significant concerns regarding the Turf Hill portion of the replacement pipeline in Lightwater.
Michael met local Councillors and concerned residents in August 2019, and wrote to Esso, the Planning Inspectorate, Surrey Heath Borough Council and Natural England to raise his constituents’ objections.
You can view Michael’s objection letter of 31 July 2019 to the Planning Inspectorate here.
In January 2020, Michael wrote again to Esso to ask if the proposed route for the pipeline can be changed following the Planning Inspectorate’s visit to the site. Following that, Michael discussed Esso's proposals with Affinity Water, as Esso wishes to use its easement in Turf Hill.
In March 2020, Michael met representatives of Natural England, and had a further meeting with the team at Esso.
Following those discussions, in April 2020 Michael chaired a Zoom meeting between residents, Councillors, Affinity Water, Natural England and Esso to ensure that all parties had the opportunity to hear the points of view of local residents.
On 8 April 2020, Michael made a further submission to the Planning Inspectorate to reiterate his concerns about the Turf Hill portion of the pipeline, and to also highlight the potential impact of Esso’s proposal on the Windlemere and St Catherine’s SANGs in Surrey Heath. You can read his submission in full here.
Following the wildfire at Turf Hill in May 2020, Michael wrote to the Planning Inspectorate to highlight the significant damage to the area, and asked for this information to be considered. As the examination period had closed by that time, his correspondence was passed to the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, so that he could take the submission into account.
Michael then wrote directly to the Business Secretary to ensure he was fully aware of the situation at Turf Hill. Michael asked him to thoroughly examine the impact this fire had had on the area in question, as he felt the change in circumstances may have had significant bearing on the decision.
The Planning Inspectorate and the Business Secretary have since approved Esso’s proposed route through Turf Hill, and you can find the report explaining precisely why here. Michael is now working with residents and councillors to ensure that Esso sticks to its Site-Specific Plan for Turf Hill, in turn safeguarding against the risk of unnecessary tree felling and preserving the natural beauty of the area.
Following a meeting with representatives from Esso in March 2021, Michael was very pleased that Esso agreed to conduct a meeting with local residents to see what Esso can do for the Turf Hill area as part of its Environmental Investment Programme. Michael worked with local councillors to ensure a public meeting could take place as soon as possible.
On 21 January 2022, Esso hosted a virtual meeting for local residents who will be affected by the upcoming works to replace the pipeline, and it was agreed that residents would be kept fully up-to-date with Esso’s precise movements. It was also agreed that whilst works progress, Michael, residents, councillors and Esso will be working closely in order to make sure all works remain within the scope of Esso’s Site Specific Plan and that residents do not experience any unexpected change.
In February 2022, Michael wrote to Esso to follow-up the public meeting on 21 January, and highlighted again that those most affected by the installation must be fully aware of the progress of the works and kept rigorously up-to-date.