SAVE OUR GREEN BELT – STOP THE SOLAR PLANT

Enso Energy, in the guise of a newly formed company called Elstree Green Ltd, have submitted plans to operate an industrial-size solar plant over 310 acres of  Metropolitan Green Belt land. It will destroy vast amounts of the stunning open countryside covering areas within Elstree, Radlett, Aldenham, Letchmore Heath, Hilfield and Patchetts Green. The effects of things like glare from the panels will be felt as far away as Bushey.

The land is Green Belt, but it is productive land for crops such as kale, rapeseed, wheatgrass, beans and cabbage. We need to stand together to protect this precious rural countryside and its wide open spaces and network of footpaths which are enjoyed by so many individuals and families. Not only is the lungs of London, it is the beating heart of Hertsmere – a place for exercise, a place for tranquility, a place to exist with nature. It for is all of us – young and old, rich or poor. Never has this been more important for mental and physical health than during this pandemic. It is essential,  right now, and it is essential for future generations.

We absolutely support good, green initiatives, but ripping up the Green Belt and replacing it with glass and metal and cables and plastic is not green. In fact, solar plays no role in UK green strategy going forward all the way to 2050.

Help us oppose this industrial solar plant! Help us keep Hertsmere truly green for all of us!

Object Now!

Reasons to Object

• Green Belt – Building a solar farm on GB is not a valid Very Special Circumstances reason.
• Green Belt Loss – This will be the single largest GB loss in decades. It will set a precedent. Alternative available sites were not looked at.
• Size/Scale – The scale of this 321 acres site equals 30 Wembley Stadium complexes.
• Visual Impact – 321 acres of 3M high solar panels will destroy the openness and scenic views. Current footpaths will be altered & screened with 2.2m high fencing & 3m high CCTV. Views blighted by 36x40ft Shipping Containers in site. 20 with Lithium Ion battery storage units. Elevations of the completed site are missing from.
• Amenity Space – Vital open space for health & wellbeing will be lost. Notably in COVID
• Soil Quality – Crops are farmed in rotation on this agricultural farmland DEFRA graded
• Heritage Site Impact – Viewing HS’s will be blighted by the solar plant.
• Listed Buildings – Aldenham, Habs, Slades Farmhouse and Hilfield Castle, have restrictions
• Protected Species – Numerous birds, great crested newts, badgers, bat roost, muntjac will loose their habitat. In turn this will have a negative affect on the local biodiversity.

• Flood Plain – Defra has said this site is on a flood plain.
• Glint & Glare – Aircraft, local traffic and dwellings will be affected as stated in their report.
• Noise Pollution – Battery storage, 20 transformers in fields & 80 aircon units will have a negative effect, especially for children at 4 local schools, with hearing and concentration.
• Local Plan & NHP – A solar plant on Green Belt is not in either plan. In the NHP it states, “protection and positive use of the surrounding Green Belt”.
• Battery Storage Units – Huge environmental and financial costs from incidents of fires have been recorded.
• Green Projects – Should take into account how things are sourced; manufactured; transported; installed; managed; dismantled and recycled. Items from countries with no emission legislation or workers rights is not green. Lack of detail does not mean its green!
• Solar Plants – Are actually very inefficient in generating renewable energy as they reach an optimum period and then become less efficient.
• N.B. – Since November 2020 the Secretary of State has rejected numerous similar applications.

What can I do?

Act now and use the form below. This form below will automate a direct email to the council planning department where objections need to be registered.

Please feel free to add your own comments or simply add your name and details and click submit.

To object, emails need to be sent by 24th February 2021 to :

Email: consult.planning@hertsmere.gov.uk
Planning Ref: 21/0050/FULI
The form below will enable your objection to be logged with the planning department.

Complete this form to register your objection

    Your Address:


    Objection to Solar Energy Plant Ref 21/0050/FULEI

    21/0050/FULEI | Installation of renewable led energy generating station comprising ground-mounted photovoltaic solar arrays and battery-based electricity storage containers together with substation, inverter/transformer stations, site accesses, internal access tracks, security measures, access gates, other ancillary infrastructure, landscaping and biodiversity enhancements. | Land North Of Butterfly Lane, Land Surrounding Hilfield Farm And Land West Of Hilfield Lane Aldenham Hertfordshire

    I STRONGLY OBJECT to this application.

    1. This application is to build a massive solar energy production plant on 323 acres of local farm land within the Green Belt. Solar power is not one of the Government priorities for producing electricity as part of their overall 10 point policy to reach “zero carbon”. It is very inefficient and unreliable as it is unable to guarantee a continuous supply under UK weather conditions. The applicants claim the amount to be generated will be “equivalent to the annual electricity needs of 15,600 families in Hertsmere and reduce CO2 emissions by the equivalent of 8,100 cars”. Except it won’t. The quoted capacity of 49.9 MW will never be achieved as the UK weather means such systems typically generate only around 12% of their theoretical capacity. Nor will this proposal provide any electricity for local purposes in Hertsmere - let alone “increase the Borough’s renewable generated electricity to 20%” as suggested - as it all will simply be fed into the National Grid via the Elstree sub station.

    2. This project could be located at any number of the hundreds of sub-stations across the UK in locations that are not in the Green Belt or on farmland able to produce food, such as former industrial areas or other “brown field” sites. The developers have not made any mention of carrying out any searches for (arguably more suitable) alternative sites for this monstrous proposal. It seems to have been proposed in this location because of an initiative by the local land owner who is familiar with the City of London and its practices of ‘financial engineering” which appears to be driving this proposal rather than to meet any environmental or “green” objectives.

    3. Britain is an agricultural country. It has been farmed since the Neolithic period, and today’s open landscape would be absolutely recognisable to an Anglo-Saxon. These isles’ celebrated "quilt-pattern" of fields and hedges is the work of people, the result of agri-culture, and is not to be lightly thrown aside, or forested over, or ruined by unsightly solar panels. The farmed countryside is "the past speaking dear" as the Poet Laureate John Masefield once put it. It is our heritage which we must preserve for future generations.

    4. Under the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) the Government attaches great importance to Green Belts. The fundamental aim of Green Belt policy is to prevent urban sprawl by keeping land permanently open; the essential characteristics of Green Belts are their openness and their permanence. Paragraph 143 of the Framework stipulates that inappropriate development is, by definition, harmful to the Green Belt and should not be approved except in very special circumstances. Development within the Green Belt is inappropriate with the exceptions of the specific types of development listed in Paragraphs 145 and 146 of the Framework. These do not include Solar Energy generating plants so there are no Very Special Circumstances in this case.

    5. The draft Hertsmere Local Plan covering planned developments for the next 15 years firmly supports the protection of the Green Belt and agricultural activities in the Borough including in the areas suggested for this proposed industrial plant. So the application should also be rejected on the grounds of incompatibility with the Council’s Plan.

    Agricultural Soil Quality

    6. The two sites, Hilfield Farm and Slades Farm are both historically part of our local agricultural scene and are both located in the Green Belt. The fields have produced growing crops such as other vegetables, wheat, barley, sugarcane, pulses, and oilseeds for human consumption as well as for animal consumption. Slades Farm for instance has been farmed in recent years primarily on a first wheat rotation with oilseed rape, spring barley and pulses providing the break crops.

    Countryside and Footpaths

    7. The locations in the open countryside between the villages of Letchmore Heath, Radlett and Elstree provide wide open spaces and attractive countryside views from the well used network of local footpaths and bridleways and from dwellings in and on the edges of the village of Letchmore Heath. The Pandemic has demonstrated to local residents the true priceless value of our local footpaths and wide open spaces so we should keep them the way they are. This application if you approve it will result in the countryside views from footpaths being destroyed and replaced by rows of solar panels mounted on frames at eye level through 2.2 metre wire mesh security fences with CCTV cameras along both sides of the footpaths.

    8. Building an industrial plant such as the massive 300 acres across 20 farm fields of the proposed Solar plant installations is inappropriate in such a Green Belt setting and certainly does not meet the 'Very Special Circumstances' planning requirement for building in the Green Belt. The size and scale of the proposed installations will completely ruin the visual appearance of the rural landscape by replacing open fields and countryside with a mass of large solar panels and other unsightly industrial installations including around 20 or more 40 foot long shipping containers to house the industrial sized Lithium-Ion storage batteries and possibly more to contain Inverters and transformers (this is unclear from the documents).

    A 'temporary' development – for 35 years

    9. The developers describe their plans as “temporary” but then define this as being 35 years which is just a way to obtaining planning under the guise of TEMPORARY.

    Heritage sites

    10. Hertsmere’s approach to Heritage buildings is to “retain important open spaces and views” so it is important to consider the proposed development in relations to views of these Heritage sites. It is clear that the proposed locations of rows of solar panels and fencing will have a considerable adverse effect on views of Hilfield Castle, Aldenham School, the old gateway to Haberdashers School and Slades Farm house from various locations from where they can now be seen across open countryside.

    I therefore urge you to Refuse this application.