A number of residents have been in touch with me about Enso Energy’s planning application at the Hilfield Site, where they propose to develop a solar farm on the land to the North East and West of Elstree Aerodrome.
As many of you know, Members of Parliament are unable to get involved in individual planning applications as these decisions are taken by the relevant planning authority, in this case, Hertsmere Borough Council.
However, defending the countryside and protecting our environment and green open spaces continues to be one of my greatest priorities. That is why I campaigned to keep the footpath open at Aldenham Reservoir and continue to fight the De-registration and Exchange of village green land at Woodcock Hill in Borehamwood.
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. Likewise, I know that our excellent local councillors, who will make the decision, are fully engaged.
Hertsmere Borough Council declared a Climate Emergency in 2020 and reducing our emissions requires difficult decisions to be taken at all levels of government. Hertsmere currently generates 5.4% of its energy requirements from renewable sources, and this project could increase this to 20% - enough to power Borehamwood. I have also been briefed that new planting and ecological connectivity on the proposed site would achieve a 40% 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. It is therefore very important that the Council properly consider the impact that this application would have on our ability to maintain the distinct and rural character of the countryside around Bushey and Radlett.
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.