Friends of Queen Elizabeth Park Farnborough

Our Alternative Proposal - Rejected by Esso

Esso could use Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) to drill under the park and avoid extensive damage.

  • This is a better way to install the pipeline through the park than Esso are proposing.
  • Rushmoor Borough Council commissioned an independent expert to assess whether our plan is feasible: it is.
  • Esso have refused to do this.
  • The Government could approve Esso’s plans, even though this less damaging alternative exists.

Our proposal looks like this (click on the map for a larger view): Our HDD Proposal

Why We Have Suggested an Alternative Plan

During the Planning Inspectorate’s public examination of Esso’s plans, which ran from 9th October 2019 to 9th April 2020, we did everything we could to highlight the issues with Esso’s proposals.

We hoped that with a better understanding of the likely damage to the park, Esso would agree to install their pipeline in a more sympathetic way. Rushmoor Borough Council had similar concerns with Esso’s plans and they also asked Esso to change their plans for the park.

Despite this, Esso have refused to make any substantial changes to their proposals.

HDD: Horizontal Directional Drilling

During the examination, it emerged that it would be possible to install the pipe by drilling under the park, using a technique known as Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD). This would avoid the need to dig a trench and a reception pit by Farnborough Road and would mean that the Cabrol Road facilities would be out of use for a much shorter period of time.

Our proposal - detail

HDD makes it possible to drill deep under the park, along the curve shown in the map above. The pipe will be far enough beneath the ground that it it won’t interfere with the roots of any of the Veteran and Notable trees in the park.

It doesn’t solve all the issues we identified but it is the best compromise.

Rushmoor Borough Council commissioned a drilling specialist to investigate the feasibility of HDD and the report which was produced and submitted to the Planning Inspectorate. The report showed that this technique would be well suited to the park.

The Planning Inspectorate Doubt Esso’s Plans Too

Esso were asked by the Planning Inspectorate to evaluate the possibility of using HDD to cross the park.

Esso did a brief investigation and then stated that they would not use HDD.

The Planning Inspectorate were not sufficiently convinced with this response so they asked Esso to put a statement into their Development Consent Order (the application which they have submitted to the Government) to say that the method of installation in the park must be agreed with Rushmoor Borough Council. Because the council favour HDD, this effectively means that if there is a viable way to use HDD in the park, Esso must do that.

Esso have refused to include the statement into their DCO.

This means that they are saying ‘No’ to the Planning Inspectorate’s request and ruling out using HDD. Esso are hoping that the Government will take their side and approve the application without the statement asked for by the Planning Inspectorate. This will mean that Esso will be allowed to install the pipeline by digging a trench and causing extensive damage to the park.

We Can Still Keep Asking for HDD — Write to Leo Docherty MP

The park is only a 500 metre section of a 90KM pipe so there is a chance that the Government will approve Esso’s plans as they stand. So we must keep the pressure up to ensure that they do not do this — but instead require Esso to use HDD in the park.

Please write to Leo┬áDocherty┬áMP to let him know that you are concerned about Esso’s plans and that you want Esso to drill beneath the park instead of trenching through it. We have produced a template and some ideas to make it quick and easy for you to do.

If enough people write to Leo Docherty, it will show how important the park is and could have an influence on the Government’s decision.