Sperberry Hill Solar, we urge the Council to refuse permission

1st April 2022

We’re dismayed to see the proposal for yet another industrial-scale solar farm in Hertfordshire’s Green Belt proceed to a full planning application, and we urge the Council to refuse permission.

The Sperberry Hill Solar installation is proposed for a 35.5 hectares’ site entirely comprised of productive, Best and Most Versatile, Grades 2 and 3a agricultural land. Government policy is for high grade agricultural land to be retained for food production. This is important in the context of UK domestic food security.

The proposed development site is in the Green Belt and national planning policy is for the Green Belt to be kept permanently open. The site is crossed by at least three public rights of way, including The Hertfordshire Way long distance footpath. These form an important access to nature and a highly valued recreational amenity for local residents. The industrial nature of the solar panels and associated infrastructure would harm the landscape and change the nature of the countryside in this area for a generation.

Here at CPRE Hertfordshire we believe solar has a role to play in the UK’s energy mix. But the solar energy trade association, Solar Energy UK, estimates there are over 617,000 acres of suitable, south-facing commercial rooftops currently available for solar panels. So we want to see solar panels on all suitable rooftops before industrial-scale solar farms are built on greenfield sites in the countryside.

You can read our submission to North Hertfordshire District Council urging refusal of planning permission for the Sperberry Hill Solar proposal, along with our full policy statement on solar energy installations in the countryside.

a view of chain link fence and a large amount of glass and metal, in other words, a solar farm
Industrialisation of the countryside: view from the public footpath at Folly Farm Solar, Long Marston, Hertfordshire Eliza Hermann