In 2021, we started installation at Chobham Common. We completed the trenchless crossings within the common during the winter months.

Our pipeline installation work in the area has now paused for the bird nesting season. When we paused work back in February, we carried out some targeted and temporary remediation works to make the Public Rights of Way, which were impacted by the construction, suitable for use over the summer – for example laying stone where pathways cross the pipeline working area.

Now that conditions have improved, and the recent sunshine has made a big difference to the track recovering, we intend on taking the opportunity to return in late April/early May to undertake additional remediation works. These works consist of:

  • Replacing the bridge at the Eastern end of the Common.
  • Improving signage to delineate the track from areas of heathland naturally regenerating.
  • Scraping and tidying the edges of the main track.
  • Restoring the eastern end of the main track near the bridge and re-opening for users. This will involve scraping the mud and the re-distribution of stones from the other side of the bridge. This should harden the surface for users.
  • Improving the ground conditions at the Windsor Road entrance to the Common.

We are somewhat restricted by the seasonal constraints due to the ground nesting birds, but we hope that by completing the above remediation works, we will improve the ground conditions and make the Common more accessible whilst our installation work is paused.

We will then return in autumn 2022 to undertake the open cut sections of our installation works, followed by reinstatement works.

About installation

We have completed the trenchless crossing at Chobham Common. We will return in autumn 2022 to complete the open cut sections of works.

Before installation starts in 2022, the first thing you will see is signs notifying common users that works will be taking place.

When installation starts, fencing will be used to secure the working area.

You may also see mobile welfare units, equipment, materials and vehicles within the working area.

You may see deliveries of the steel pipes. These will be brought to site in ‘just-in-time’ delivery sequencing – this is because we want to reduce the space needed for the compound within the common.

Some Public Rights of Way will be diverted. Information on these will be included on our website, once all permits have been obtained. Advance notices will be displayed before paths are diverted or closed, and all diversions will be clearly signposted.

The car parks serving Chobham Common will remain open throughout installation.

We will be using an open cut technique to install through most of the Common. This work is likely to take place in autumn and winter 2022.

Chobham Common is a Special Protection Area (SPA), featuring birds protected under European regulations that cannot be disturbed during nesting periods. This means we can only work in the area through the winter months, so we have adapted our timeline to work around the nesting season.

Due to this seasonal restraint, installation work can only take place in the autumn and winter months. In order to construct within the seasonal constraints, we completed the trenchless works in February 2022 and are planning complete the open cut sections by February 2023.

Fencing material will be selected to reduce the visual impact on the Common, maintaining low visibility of the working area.

We used Horizontal Directional Drill (HDD) trenchless technique to install in specific areas within Chobham Common.

Chobham Common is a Special Protection Area (SPA), featuring birds protected under European regulations that cannot be disturbed during nesting periods. This means we can only work in the area through the winter months, so we have adapted our timeline to work around the nesting season.

The trenchless sections of the replacement pipeline have now been completed, we will return in autumn 2022 to undertake the open cut section of the installation, once the nesting birds have left the Common.

The work areas will be fully secure with locked gates and 24-hour security.

Vegetation

Where the topsoil has been stripped and stored, this will then be replaced after the works and left to naturally regenerate as agreed with Surrey Wildlife Trust and Natural England.

The vegetation reinstatement will be subject to a five-year aftercare.

Natural regeneration of heathland

In some instances, the heathland will be left to naturally regenerate, thereby allowing the local and native seed bank to re-establish. This process can take a few years and requires the bare soils to be left in-situ. While visually this leaves bare earth, this approach is considered best practice and is endorsed both by the Surrey Wildlife Trust and Natural England.

Reinstatement using natural regeneration is an environmental commitment of our project.