Factually incorrect leaflet distributed by local Lib Dems about the Esso Pipline Project
I received some communication from residents via my Frimley Green WhatsApp group regarding the Southampton to London Pipeline Project.
This followed a leaflet that had been put out by local Lib Dems over the weekend.
Having read the leaflet it does appear that the Lib Dems are a very late to the game on this as the consultation was held last year.
The project will cause some impact locally but I think the contents of their leaflet is alarmist and seeks to exploit reach into the community through misinformation, which is disapointing.
It was some time since I had read the documentation concerning the project in particular around the impact on the Division I represent at Surrey County Council. In order to refamiliarise myself with all the facts, because the documents are exceptionally long, I made contact with the Esso Project Team on Monday morning who provided me with a detailed briefing.
The Project Team have produced a Site Specific Plan for the SANG and St Catherines to address concerns. This can be downloaded here: Esso site specific plan
Surrey County Council's highways team and the Project Team have held detailed discussions, and as a result, they will not close Balmoral Drive. They will maintain pedestrian and emergency services access at all times and traffic management will be in place such as temporary traffic lights, to allow vehicles to access the roads off of Balmoral Drive during the installation of the pipeline. This means resident access, through traffic and access to the Tesco Express, the Church and Community Centre, will be maintained.
St Catherines Road will only be closed to through traffic, to maintain the safety of the team working along St Catherines Road. Access for residents, pedestrians and emergency services would be maintained. These restrictions will not for 2 years. It is most likely to be for 6 months max.
The project will make use of some of St Catherines SANG as a compound, but this would only be to support the works within the SANG and along St Catherines Road. The SANG would remain open throughout, and works would be securely fenced. Access to Frith Hill would be maintained and the SANG would be fully reinstated following the works. I will be personally be making sure the reinstatement is carried out to the satisfaction of residents.
Frith Hill is heavily treed, and it is a designated Site of Nature Conservation Interest. If they were to relocate the St Catherines SANG compound into Frith Hill woodland to serve the works in St Catherines Road and St Catherines Road SANG, it would require the removal of a substantial number of mature trees. It would also require the provision of an additional haul route to and from the compound for the delivery of materials, in addition to the haul road for the construction of the pipeline, to segregate compound traffic from construction traffic for health and safety reasons. The project team considered that these impacts and long-term harm are not justified when compared to the impact on St Catherines Road SANG (Clewborough) where no mature trees would be removed and the function of the SANG as open space would be retained. I have spoken to residents who have read the consultation documents in full. They seem to consider that the Esso plan is reasonable, but it is just a shame that it involves SANG land, which will have an impact on the green space and residents. However, on balance, I support the rational to use the SANGS rather than Frith Hill, which, to my mind is by far the best option and least impactful on the natural environment.it involves SANG land, which will have an impact on the green space and residents. However, on balance, I support the rational to use the SANGS rather than Frith Hill, which, to my mind is by far the best option and least impactful on the natural environment.
The entire 97km of replacement pipeline will take two years to install, with construction taking place between 2021 and 2022, subject of course to consent.
Esso and Surrey Heath Borough Council are discussing an agreement regarding the specific terms of the occupation of the SANG and negotiations are ongoing. Consequently, Surrey Heath Borough Council does not appear to object in principle to the Order Limits within St Catherines Road SANG. This would be undertaken as part of Esso's voluntary Environmental Investment Programme (EIP). The EIP comprises a range of activities along the proposed replacement pipeline route to carry out localised projects such as creating or improving habitats to enhance biodiversity.
The project team have wirtten to residents close to the affected areas, and I have included the letter as it most likely will not reach everyone: I completely respect any attempt to protect the environment but lets at least present residents with the facts which I hope I have provided a little more clarity here: Esso letter to residents
I encourage residents to make contact with the project team if they need any specific clarity on any of the issues that may arise as a result of the information contained here. If residents have any particular concerns that they would like me to raise on their behalf, in a non-party political way, please do get in touch, and I will be happy to assist. However, I would first encourage you to read the site-specific plan.
If you want an enthralling read then the detailed information on the project can be found here (Thanks to Graham in Frimley Green for helping me find this information to share). Please note that as discussions have been ongoing with the various relevant agencies, some of the information contained within the following documents may have been revised. The Site-specific plan above is the most up to date document.
Planning Inspectorate information - includes the timetable, agendas for the hearings etc https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/projects/south-east/southampton-to-london-pipeline-project/?fbclid=IwAR10Oc4gOmBHd7wNFMPZ1xOcZvAbbThx55WMj6S2nuvCqjYzEfKjE-fPwp4
Surrey Heath's written submissions
The consultation information https://infrastructure.planninginspectorate.gov.uk/wp-content/ipc/uploads/projects/EN070005/EN070005-000151-5.1%20Consultation%20Report.pdf?fbclid=IwAR0tZhY2bPm3Bn9zGDVYzNkQfM_Hpr3aE7Bk-Gl2uP6LHzxppgNEdY040Z0