A UK oil giant has launched a public consultation into replacing a Hampshire fuel pipeline.

Esso is proposing to replace 90km of its 105km aviation fuel pipeline which links its Fawley Refinery in Southampton with its West London terminal storage facility in Hounslow, which provides fuel for several major airports.

The current underground pipeline was built between 1969 and 1973 to supply oil to large industrial sites and oil-fired power stations.

Having been in operation for over 40 years, Esso now wanted to replace the section to retain reliable flow of aviation fuel to airports.

Recently, a 10km section was replaced between between Hamble and Boorley Green, and now the firm plans to work on the rest between Boorley Green and its London storage facility.

With the establishment of the South Downs National Park and other protected sites along the existing pipeline, Esso will need to tweak its route.

It is holding an open consultation which runs until April 30, for those affected by the new pipeline to have their say.

As well as the consultation Esso will also be hosting a number of public exhibitions, including at Jubilee Hall in Bishop’s Waltham on April 20.

Tim Sunderland, pipeline project executive said: “We recognise the importance of individuals, communities, representatives and organisations contributing to the development of our proposals.

“The existing pipeline was built in the late 1960s. Since then, Hampshire and Surrey have changed dramatically.

“The South Downs National Park and many other protected sites have been established alongside the existing pipeline.

"We need to identify a corridor that will minimise interruption to communities, and have better environmental outcomes.”