Rushmoor Borough Council has welcomed the Planning Inspectorate’s conclusion that Esso needs to carry out further work about its proposals to upgrade and replace a 105km aviation fuel pipe.

The fuel pipe runs from Southampton to London and is now calling for the company to take further action to address the concerns raised.

Rushmoor Borough Council has welcomed the Planning Inspectorate’s conclusion that Esso needs to carry out further work about its proposals to upgrade and replace a 105km aviation fuel pipe, which runs from Southampton to London and is now calling for the company to take further action to address the concerns raised.

The council was also pleased that the Inspectorate highlighted Queen Elizabeth Park as an area of particular concern in its response, urging Esso to consider carefully its proposals for the park and to how it could mitigate the environmental impact of the proposed work.

The Inspectorate’s conclusions followed a series of hearings in November and early December to consider specific issues arising from representations made at preliminary and open floor hearings (in October) and documentation submitted by residents, councils and other organisations affected by the proposals, as well as from Esso. As the planning authority and landowner, the council had submitted written representations to the Planning Inspectorate highlighting concerns about the potential impact on Queen Elizabeth Park of Esso’s plans, particularly the proposed loss of trees. The council also raised concerns about the potential transport impact across the borough and in residential areas from the works and construction traffic.

Councillor Marina Munro, Cabinet member for Planning and Economy at Rushmoor Borough Council, said “We are very happy that the Planning Inspectorate recognised the validity of the issues we raised and have required that Esso carry out further work to address the concerns of both the council and our residents. We want to see Esso bringing forward substantially improved proposals to which they are willing to legally commit. Our work will continue, and we will be meeting with representatives from Esso again to negotiate a way forward.”

Before the hearings, the planning inspectors visited various sites in Farnborough to see for themselves the likely impact the proposals would have on specific sites. Representatives from the council met with the inspectors, residents and representatives from Esso for an accompanied site visit of Queen Elizabeth Park. This was an opportunity to see the potential impact of the width of the working area on the park during the construction period and to make the Inspectors aware of the notable trees within the park.

The inspectors also visited other sites in Farnborough, including Cove Road, Nash Close and Stake Lane on unaccompanied site visits. A full note of their visits is available on the Planning Inspectorate’s website.

At the hearings, the planning inspectors spent a considerable amount of time discussing the environmental impact of the proposed route through Queen Elizabeth Park and if there were any alternatives. The council also raised concerns about the potential impact on Southwood Country Park and of the potential impact, access issues and disruption that the work could cause at Cove Cricket Club.

Councillor Munro added: “The site visits were very important because it was an opportunity for the planning inspectors to see for themselves the impact the proposals would have here in Farnborough. We want to ensure that every effort is made to mitigate the environmental impact of the work.”

The Planning Inspectorate concluded that Esso will now need to undertake further work to address the concerns raised and consider how they will mitigate the impacts of the new pipeline before it can secure a draft Development Consent Order.