ESSO’S oil refinery at Fawley attracts one of the biggest business rates bills in the country, generating more than £11million for the public purse, it has been revealed.

The site costs its owners more in rates than St Pancras station, the investment bank Goldman Sachs, Hinkley Point B nuclear power station or the London offices of Google.

Data published by business rates specialist Altus Group says the 50 largest rate-paying sites in England and Wales will hand over £705m in 2019.

Topping the league table is Heathrow Airport, with a rates bill of nearly £117.96m, down £4m on a year ago.

Former nuclear energy site Sellafield is the most expensive power station, with a bill of £26.6m– although this was down from £27.6m a year earlier.

The Esso Refinery in Marsh Lane, Fawley, is at number 21 on the list, paying £11,168,640 to New Forest District Council. It is the only Hampshire premises in the league table.

The site covers around 3,250 acres and has a mile-long marine terminal which handles around 2,000 ship movements and 22m tonnes of crude oil and other products a year. It processes around 270,000 barrels of crude oil a day and provides 20 per cent of the UK’s refinery capacity.

Last year, ExxonMobil announced plans to invest more than £800m in Fawley refinery, in a move which the company says could create up to 1,000 construction jobs.

The company wants to expand the refinery to increase production of ultra-low sulphur diesel by 38,000 barrels a day, almost 45 per cent. The plans would represent the biggest investment in Fawley refinery for almost 30 years.

However, the Save Our Shores (SOS) action group disputes the claims of 1,000 new jobs and claism the plan would contravene the UK’s commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement.

Business rates are set by central government but collected by councils, who pass them on to the Treasury and receive around half of the money back.

The government plans for councils to keep 75 per cent of business rates by 2020-21 and to eventually keep all the money.

Non-domestic rates generate around £40billion a year nationally, but in recent years there has been pressure on the government to overhaul the system.

Several big high street names have been in administration – including Debenhams, HMV and House of Fraser – and have complained that high business rates were a factor.

New Forest District Council said in a statement: “Local authorities only keep a proportion of the business rates paid locally and it contributes towards the cost of local services. The amount a business pays depends on the rateable value, which is determined by the Valuation Office Agency, and the multiplier, which is set by central government.

“For 2018/19 we collected £68m in business rates and we retained £5.9m – this represents roughly 34 per cent of our net budget requirements.”