Esso’s Plans for Queen Elizabeth Park

Prepare for major disruption and damage to our park if Esso gets approval to install its pipeline carrying aviation fuel to Heathrow.

There are three major activities which will threaten the park:

  • A construction compound and associated pipe string at Cabrol Road and throughout the park
  • Digging a trench through the park and laying pipe in it
  • Digging and operating a pit to receive pipe bored beneath Farnborough Road

These activities are colour coded and shown on the map below. They are also described in more detail further down (or use the links above to jump straight to the relevant section). You can also read about our proposal to drill under the park, which Esso have rejected.

Park Plan

Click on the map for a larger view. You can zoom and and see all the details.

Cabrol Road Compound and Pipe String

Cabrol Road 2

  • The car park will be closed for two years. We will have two weeks notice of this.
  • Esso have refused to fund any improvements to the Farnborough Road car park to help it withstand the additional traffic which will be displaced there.
  • The play area will be removed. We will have two weeks notice of this.
  • The willow tree by the car park will be lopped. It is not clear what the extent of the lopping will be but there is a chance that all branches will be removed.
  • The area of grass between the car park, play area and railway line will be converted into a site compound, surrounded by fencing and containing equipment, materials, work areas and staff facilities.

Cabrol Road 1

  • The play area will be converted into a compound for feeding pipe into an underground bore which will stretch all the way to Stake Lane.
  • The railings at the Cabrol Road entrance will be removed and replaced with gates for construction traffic. A new pedestrian-only gate will be installed on the northern footpath of Cabrol Road.
  • A temporary play area will be constructed. Rushmoor Borough Council would like this to be built in the glade and we hope that Esso will agree to this.
  • If Esso do not agree with Rushmoor, they will build the play area between the construction compounds and the pond. This will be smaller than the original one and right next to the construction work.
  • Esso did not reveal their choice of location for the play area until there was no opportunity for us to comment on it or challenge the decision. Their proposed location is extremely poor, being right next to noisy, dangerous working areas.
  • After work is completed the play area will be reinstated and the car park will be re-opened.

Cabrol Road 3

  • Pipe will be laid out and welded together to form a 300 metre ‘string’. This will stretch from the Cabrol Road play area to some way beyond the Fairy Tree.
  • An area 5 metres wide will be cleared and fenced off to accomodate the pipe string
  • This pipe string will be pulled into the Stake Lane bore when it is complete.
  • The pipe will pass close to many important trees in the park. The exact path will not be known until the pipe is constructed. Any trees which are in the way will be felled.

A Trench Through the Park

Trench 1

  • The southern footpath will be closed and the lighting will be removed. This will be reinstated when work is complete. Esso have not said how long the path will be closed for.
  • A trench will be dug, stretching from the Cabrol Road play area, right across the park, to the A325. It will be just to the north of the footpath (not within it) and will be about 1.8 metres deep.
  • The working area around the trench will be 10 metres wide. This will be cleared of plants and shrubs and some trees will be felled, though Esso claim that no mature trees will be removed, even though the trench is within a metre of the trunks of some.

Trench 3

  • The entire trench is within the root zones of trees. Esso have not specified how the trench will be dug, other than to say that it will be hand-dug within the root protection area of the Fairy Tree.
  • The pipe will be laid out beside the trench and welded together before being lowered in. Esso have not explained how they can lower the pipe into the trench without severing tree roots.
  • Any trees which are too close to the trench could be felled for safety during the work. Trees which are not felled are at risk of dying due to root damage.

Trench 2

  • The trench passes through the Fairy Tree’s root area.
  • The Fairy Tree is within the working area for the pipe string and trenching. It will be within the fenced working area which means that it is in grave danger.
  • Esso say that the Fairy Tree is inside the working area ‘to protect it’. This makes absolutely no sense at all. The way to protect the Fairy Tree is to keep all working areas well away from it.
  • The width of the working area by the Fairy Tree is more than the 10 metres which Esso committed to — and they announced this change too late for it to be challenged.
  • The trench will be filled in after the pipe has been installed.

The Farnborough Road Pit Compound

Auger Bore 3

  • A construction compound will be built beside the southern entrance. This will be large — roughly 30 metres by 30 metres.
  • This compound will support the construction of the ‘reception pit’ for a bore drilled beneath the A325. The pipe will be installed into this bore from a ‘launch pit’ in Farnborough Hill School grounds.
  • The pit will be deep — between 3 and 6 metres deep (figures given by Esso vary). It will be within the root area at least one large Notable Tree. Esso might decide to fell this — or it might die as a result of root damage caused by the work.
  • The pit will be outside the compound and therefore not protected by fencing. Esso have not explained why they have chosen to build such a huge compound which isn’t even suitable for its purpose of containing the pit and keeping it safe.

Auger Bore 1

  • Also within the compound will be machinery, materials and facilities for site workers.
  • An access road for construction vehicles will be installed. This will cross the footpath and cycle path and lead onto a ramp built within the park.

Auger Bore 2

  • Esso claim that no trees will be felled within the compound but their mapping of the area is inaccurate. The access road shown in the plans will require two large beech trees and a sycamore to be felled.
  • Esso claim that there is a wildlife pond in this area and that they will reinstate it when work is complete. It is actually just part of the ditch system beside the A325 but this shows how poorly Esso understand the area they want to work in.

Esso’s proposals for the Farnborough Road pit area are unworkable. They are based on inaccurate mapping and do not take account of the size and value of the trees within it.

We Tried to Persuade Esso to Drill Under the Park

We tried to persuade Esso to do things differently but they have refused. We have proposed a plan which limits damage to an area of the park containing mainly young trees which are easier to replace. It avoids all the Veteran and Notable trees and minimises disruption to the Cabrol Road car park and play area as much as possible.

We suggest that Esso drills beneath the park. Read the details here.

More Details

If you want more background about the project, the pages which we originally published in September 2019 are still available here: