Esso Pipeline Ongoing Delays

The Esso Pipeline project opened Balmoral Drive as promised before Christmas, but this week I was not the only one surprised to see the road surface broken up and Balmoral Drive closed again, with all the impacts of the diversions on local residents.

I have been focused on the Esso Pipeline this week, and can update residents as follows:

I have been describing the impact on residents of the extended closure of the first section of Balmoral Drive as follows:

  • There are 735 households on the Paddock Hill estate.
  • If each resident goes on one car journey per day, going half a mile out of their way in each direction, this equates to an extra 735 miles per day.
  • Over the 4 month delay of the extension to the closure of the first section of Balmoral Drive, this equates to 88,000 extra miles.
  • At the HMRC mileage rate of 45p per mile, this equates to £40,000. Since it is now closed again this number continues to rise. This of course excludes the impact of the originally planned diversions, the environmental impact, and the impact on residents on adjacent estates

The current regulations mean it would be legally very difficult, probably impossible, to demand direct compensation from Esso for this impact.

Esso and Surrey Heath Borough Council have been discussing what projects Esso will undertake as part of their Environmental Investment Programme since July last year, and the list of work was published here last week. The notional value of this work is £80,000.

I met with Esso and Frimley Green PreSchool (I am a Community representative on their Committee), based at Frimley Community Centre, to discuss the impact of the originally planned delays combined with the 4 month additional delays. Esso’s Corporate Social Responsibility representative was very willing to consider a number of ways in which Esso can make contributions involving labour, materials, direct purchase, and other ideas, to demonstrate their goodwill and recognitiion of the impact. These discussions are continuing.

I should stress that any local organisation that has been impacted by the Esso Pipeline project are able to make a case to Esso for similar goodwill gestures. This could include self-employed people working from home. Please contact me if that is something you wish to persue.

I believe there are a  number of additional things residents need from Esso:

  • Esso need to make their plans for ongoing disruption as clear as possible – residents don’t know what to expect when.
  • Esso need to improve the diversionary signage – people are getting lost.
  • Esso need to redouble their efforts to ensure that the works are completed by the new date of March – the delays need to end.
  • Esso need to release data on noise and vibration levels being experienced by residents at 2-10 Sandringham Way – homes have been shaking and residents deserve to be reassured that they have not been damaged.
Michael Gove MP & Cllr Stuart Black visit Esso Balmoral Drive works

Michael Gove MP & Cllr Stuart Black visit Esso Balmoral Drive works

I  arranged for Michael Gove, MP for Surrey Heath, to make a site visit to Balmoral Drive last Friday. I’m pleased to confirm that Esso:

  • Agreed to provide clear plans for the next stages of work
  • Committed to Michael that the work would be complete and Balmoral Drive back to normal by 31st March 2023.
  • Confirmed they had released data on noise and vibration level testing to Surrey Heath Borough Council Friday morning. I am hoping that SHBC can arrange a meeting with both residents and Esso to talk through the data.
  • Agreed to act of feedback that the diversionary signage needs improvement.

Afterwards I visited residents on Sandringham Way to update them.

As soon as I get details from Esso on their forward plans I will post them here and on Facebook.

Stuart Black, 15 January 2023