Enso Energy, through its subsidiary company Elstree Green Limited, is proposing to develop a solar farm and battery storage facility on land to the North East and West of Elstree Aerodrome.
Following the finalisation of the scheme design, a consultation programme with the local community and several in person site visits with local residents, the planning application for Hilfield has now been submitted and received validation (21/0050/FULEI). The full planning application is available for download here.
Our previous engagement with the community in October 2020 enabled the development team to take on-board local feedback and look at ways of improving and enhancing the positive aspects of our scheme. In response to a number of the issues raised during the public consultation process and resident site visits, the design of the submitted scheme has been amended to reflect this feedback.
If approved, the submitted scheme would supply the equivalent annual electricity needs of approximately 15,600 family homes in Hertsmere. The anticipated CO2 savings is around 25,400 tonnes per annum, which represents an emissions saving equivalent of a reduction in approximately 8,100 cars on the road every year. It is also estimated that the solar farm will increase the total amount of renewable energy generated in Hertsmere from 5.4% to 20%, bringing Hertsmere closer the national average of 33% electricity generated from renewable resources.
homes powered per year (equivalent)
tonnes of CO2 displaced per annum
We are all agreed that there is an urgent need for renewable energy to address the climate change emergency and a responsibility on all communities to contribute to this requirement. This scheme will help in meeting this target as well as delivering significant biodiversity benefits.
We held an online public consultation webinar and Q&A session event on Thursday 1st October 2020. The webinar included a ten-minute presentation by the project team where they outlined the draft proposals. During the Q&A session which followed the webinar attendees had the opportunity to ask questions about the draft proposals – the webinar is available to watch by clicking the video below.
Our updated scheme design
Enso Energy would like to thank local residents for engaging in the pre submission consultation process.
In response to the feedback we received, we have updated the proposed design of the site to address a number of the issues raised. Where possible we have taken onboard the feedback and concerns of local residents and have made important changes. Notably we have reduced the area of solar panels on the site by 9.6 hectares or approximately 10% to increase the distance of the scheme from neighbouring properties.
In addition to reducing the area of the panels, the new design also offers:
- Over 7.5ha of grassland and wildflower planting
- 6.5ha of low intervention skylark habitat
- 2ha of parkland
- 2 nature areas
- 0.7ha of orchard
- 430m of permissive path linking to the Hertfordshire Way
- 2.4km of green corridor
Please find below an annotated image of the revised scheme design, which contains detail of all the changes made:
All feedback received will be recorded in the Statement of Community Involvement (SCI) that we will be submitting as part of our planning application.
What are the features and benefits of the solar farm and battery storage facility?
The main benefits of the development proposed are summarised below:
- The project will assist in meeting Hertsmere Borough Councils goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in line with local, national and international targets and its declared Climate Emergency.
- Contribute towards the security of energy supply in Hertsmere through the provision of local, competitive renewable energy supply.
- We estimate the solar farm will increase the total amount of renewable electricity generated in Hertsmere from 5.4% to 20% bringing Hertsmere closer to the national average of 33% electricity generated from renewable sources.
- The project will support the UK’s urgent need to transition to a low carbon future, producing significant amounts of renewable energy.
- The proposed site is well contained. Due to the topography and screening from the existing hedgerows/trees and built environment the visual impact of the solar farm is low.
- The proposed development will utilise bifacial modules which absorb irradiation from the front and rear side, generating c. 4% higher energy yield than mono-facial solar panels.
- This is a temporary development. A solar plant allows agricultural land to rest for the period of operation and the land use can easily be reversed to agriculture at the end of the project life.
- Compared to intensive arable farming, a solar farm gives land the opportunity for multiple uses. In addition to energy production, solar farms can support biodiversity net gain by allowing small animals access to otherwise fenced-off land, with bird and insect fodder plants and wildflowers sown around the modules (visit www.solar-trade.org. uk/solar-farms).
- No protected landscape, heritage or ecological designations will be affected by the solar farm. No footpaths will be stopped up or diverted during either the construction or operation of the solar farm.
- The proposed scheme is temporary and fully reversible, returning the site to agricultural use at the end of its operational lifetime and therefore will not become brownfield land.
- We anticipate that construction will be complete in approximately 7 months. This will typically require 8 HGV deliveries to the site each day, which will not be routed through local villages.
- The proposed solar farm will not require Government subsidy.
- Enso Energy is committed to using local suppliers during construction and operation where possible.
Getting to net zero
The UK Government has signed up to a Renewable Energy Directive to provide 15 per cent of energy from renewables by 2020 (based on a 2008 baseline). In addition to this, the Government has made a legal commitment to cutting carbon emissions to net zero by 2050 (Climate Change Act 2008 (2050 Target Amendment) Order 2019). To achieve net zero by 2050 both the National Infrastructure Commission and the National Grid have recently reported that to meet this target will require a rapid and expanded deployment of low carbon power, including solar..
At Enso Energy we are making the idea of a country run on renewable energy a reality. We are one of the UK’s most experienced energy developers.
Our ambition is to use the latest solar technology to make a positive impact on our country and the communities we work with. We are firm advocates for renewable, low carbon, efficient, secure and sustainable energy that can be generated, stored and utilised locally. We are passionate about creating positive change for the UK’s energy requirements and carbon commitments.
Our innovative and entrepreneurial approach to subsidy-free renewable energy is assisting the country’s move towards a more secure renewable energy supply and accelerating our combined progress to net zero.
Our approach to consultation during the Coronavirus crisis
We are currently living through a pandemic, the likes of which the country has not experienced in living memory. Enso Energy agree with the recent guidance issued by the UK Government’s Chief Planner, which emphasised that planning applications that positively impact the country and local communities must continue to come forward.
In addition, Enso Energy believes that it is vital that local communities are able see and shape planning applications that may have an impact on them.
We therefore held a public consultation webinar and Q&A session, a recording of which can be viewed here. If you have any feedback on our draft proposals please fill in the form below.
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Please provide your contact details if you wish to get a response. Any information provided will only be used for the purpose of the planning application to the Local Planning Authority and will not be disclosed with any third parties. Your contact details will not be listed on the planning application documentation.