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.
Prior to the works taking place, Esso consulted local residents, who raised significant concerns regarding the Turf Hill portion of the replacement pipeline in Lightwater.
July 2019 – Michael wrote an objection letter to the Planning Inspectorate which you can read here.
August 2019 – Michael met local Councillors and concerned residents, and subsequently wrote to Esso, the Planning Inspectorate, Surrey Heath Borough Council and Natural England to raise his constituents’ objections.
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 wished to use its easement in Turf Hill.
March 2020 – Michael met representatives of Natural England, and had a further meeting with the team at Esso.
April 2020 – Following the discussions in March, 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.
May 2020 – Following the wildfire at Turf Hill, Michael wrote to the Planning Inspectorate again 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.
March 2021 – Following a meeting with representatives from Esso, 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.
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.
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.
July 2022 – During a period of extremely hot weather, Michael was contacted by local residents and councillors regarding concerns about access to the Turf Hill site for fire services. Michael immediately wrote to Esso to raise the issue and ask for an urgent update, and was subsequently informed that following a visit from the Surrey Fire and Rescue Service, thankfully, any concerns relating to access were resolved. Michael also visited the Turf Hill site in July to check-in on the progress of the works, and to view damage that was caused to some of the trees during the works. Michael was reassured by Esso and the team from the Local Authority that the damage was not permanent, the trees would recover in time, and that further care would be taken in future to ensure this did not happen again.
November 2022 – Michael was contacted by local councillor Stuart Black regarding the ongoing works at Balmoral Drive and the impact they were having on local residents. Michael then wrote to Esso on Stuart’s behalf to request a visit to the site, and to enquire about Esso’s Environmental Investment Programme.
December 2022 – Michael contacted Cllr Black to share an update from Esso stating that they were in contact with Surrey Heath Borough Council regarding schemes being pursued via the Environmental Investment Programme, and to confirm that a meeting had been agreed on site the following month.
January 2023 – Michael was joined by Cllr Black and representatives from Esso on Balmoral Drive to discuss the progress of the works and the concerns raised by residents relating to noise and traffic. Michael was informed by Esso that they would be releasing noise and vibration data to Surrey Heath Borough Council; they would be making improvements to local signage to limit traffic concerns; and that they committed to having the works completed by 31 March. It remains the case that many residents have ongoing concerns relating to the noise of the works, and Michael continues to raise individual complaints with Esso to ensure that constituents’ are listened to and their concerns addressed.
February 2023 – Michael wrote again to Esso in advance of the works recommencing in Turf Hill to request further details of the trenching that will be taking place, and to ask for additional reassurance that the greatest of care will be taken to ensure no further damage is done to any trees.
March 2023 – Esso wrote to Michael confirming that no further works would be taking place near trees in Turf Hill, and that the replanting of trees in that area would be commencing in the very near future. On 10 March, Michael met Esso and SHBC representatives with Cllr Rebecca Jennings-Evans at the Turf Hill site in Lightwater and was updated on the progress of the works across the constituency, including in Frimley Green. Michael also took the opportunity to relay a number of concerns which constituents have been raising, particularly regarding the works on Balmoral Drive, and he was pleased that Esso listened and promised to do everything possible to mitigate any further disruption.