A proposal for a solar farm spanning several field has become the most objected scheme in a borough's history.

Nearly 1,400 objections have been lodged on Hertsmere Borough Council's planning portal after applicants Enso Green Holdings submitted plans in January for a solar farm on green belt land between Elstree and Radlett.

Hundreds of comments have been left on the planning portal, the majority of which are opposing the plans. Among the comments are the thoughts of several key figures, organisations, and bodies; these are listed as consultees.

With such huge public interest in this scheme, we've scoured the portal to come up with a summary of views from some of the most key consultees whose views could be vital when it comes down to the final decision from the council's planning committee.

Elstree & Borehamwood Green Belt Society

This is a group working for the protection of the green belt and conservation areas within Elstree and Borehamwood - and the group's leader, Dr Ann Goddard has signalled her concerns with the solar farm proposal.

Dr Ann Goddard wrote: "Elstree and Borehamwood Green Belt Society is gravely concerned about the recent proposal by Enso to build a solar farm. We are fully aware of the urgent need for green energy and the dire consequences for our planet if we do not immediately alter our consumption of fossil fuel.

"Against this is the loss of 300 acres of agricultural land and the ugly scarring of our countryside by the solar panels and the infrastructure associated with them. The fact that the panels can be removed after 35 years does not mean that they will be and so the loss might be permanent."

The rough area of where the solar farm is planned. It is the majority of the fields shaded a grey/brown colour. Credit: Google

The rough area of where the solar farm is planned. It is the majority of the fields shaded a grey/brown colour. Credit: Google

County councillor Caroline Clapper

Cllr Clapper is a Hertfordshire county councillor for Watling and Hertsmere borough councillor for Aldenham West.

In a statement, she made she clear she will not support the solar farm proposal.

She said: "Having studied the implications of this particular proposal carefully, there are countless valid planning reasons why this application should be refused, and the ‘very special circumstances’ that the applicant has put forward do not outweigh the harm and impact this would have to our Green Belt, in my considered view.

"When this application ultimately comes to committee (which I will not be sitting on), I shall be strongly advocating for residents against this proposal and until that point, every resident can be assured that I will continue to do everything I can to support and assist the refusal campaign."

Cllr Clapper pictured at Aldenham Reservoir as part of a campaign to keep a reservoir walk open to the public

Cllr Clapper pictured at Aldenham Reservoir as part of a campaign to keep a reservoir walk open to the public

Elstree Aerodrome

Some comments have been made about what impact "glints" from the solar farm could have on pilots landing at nearby Elstree Aerodrome.

In his comments, manager at the aerodrome, Michael Murphy, confirmed Elstree Aerodrome has "no safeguarding objections to the development as proposed".

He added: The Glint and Glare Assessment of December 2020 compiled by Page Power Ltd provided reassurance in respect of of that aspect which was specific to this type of development in viewing its possible effects on our air traffic operations at Elstree Aerodrome."

Mr Murphy added following consultation with the aerodrome's flying school and clients, and other stakeholders, everyone is "comfortable" with the report's findings.

Elstree Aerodrome

Elstree Aerodrome

Oliver Dowden, Hertsmere MP

Senior Cabinet minister Oliver Dowden has urged the public to take the opportunity to express their views.

He said: "Defending the countryside and protecting our environment and green open spaces continues to be one of my greatest priorities. In common with other planning applications, I always ensure residents voices are heard. I have therefore met with residents on both sides regarding this proposal and have ensured their concerns are shared with the council.

"Hertsmere currently generates 5.4 per cent of its energy requirements from renewable sources, and this project could increase this to 20 per cent - enough to power Borehamwood. I have also been briefed that new planting and ecological connectivity on the proposed site would achieve a 40 per cent net gain for biodiversity.

"Nonetheless, very legitimate concerns have been raised with me, in particular about the size and scope of what is proposed and the impact it could have on our green open spaces.

"We all need to get involved in important debates like this about how we best preserve our landscape and environment for future generations. I would therefore urge Radlett and Bushey residents to look at the plans and share their views with the council."

Oliver Dowden, MP for Hertsmere

Oliver Dowden, MP for Hertsmere

The Environment Agency

The Environment Agency has no objections to the solar farm proposal except on the condition that an adequate drainage system is installed.

The public

Nearly 1,400 objections shows the strength of feeling from Hertsmere residents regarding this application.

Opposition to the scheme has gathered momentum thanks to a campaign group called 'Say No to Enso Power Plant'.

Led by Sharon Woolf, the group has raised awareness of Enso's plans through social media and with banners which have gone up in and around Radlett.

Explaining why they don't want to see a solar farm built here, Ms Woolf has previously said: "Our concerns are the size of this scheme and the bulk of it. People are telling me now they didn’t realise the size of it. This would have lasting damage on the landscape.

"We are not anti-green and we support green energy but solar is not the way forward for this country. Boris (Johnson) says offshore wind is the way forward for us.

"We don’t need to destroy the environment to save the environment. Once the land’s gone, it’s gone."

Sharon Woolf pictured in Radlett. Credit: Lynn Margolis Photogrpahy

Sharon Woolf pictured in Radlett. Credit: Lynn Margolis Photogrpahy

The applicant's' argument

The solar farm which would span across 20 fields has received 96 comments of support on the council planning portal.

Enso says the solar farm would supply energy to approximately 15,600 family homes, although the homes wouldn't necessarily be in Hertsmere

Enso says: "All efforts must be made to ensure the UK meets its legally binding target to reach net zero emissions by 2050, whilst also driving forward a green recovery from the pandemic.

"The project aims to significantly enhance the biodiversity of the site through the provision of a range of resources for local wildlife."

The planning application can be found here.