Renewable energy is a key element in mitigating climate change. And we advocate for rooftop solar energy generation – putting solar panels on all suitable industrial, commercial and residential rooftops.
However, with widespread awareness of the need to mitigate climate change, there have been a large number of new proposals for large-scale ‘greenfield’ solar farms all across England and here in Hertfordshire. We believe solar energy has a role to play in our collective action against climate change, but not at the expense of the environment.
We want to see solar panels on rooftops, on canopies above car parks, and on developed land such as that immediately alongside railways and motorways; not on greenfield sites, productive agricultural land, or designated protected land such as the Green Belt.
The trade association for the solar industry, Solar Energy UK, estimates there are over 617,000 acres of suitable, south-facing commercial rooftops available for solar panels. We want to see these rooftops fully utilised for solar energy before building ground-mounted solar farms in the countryside.
We are increasingly concerned as we see more proposals for large-scale commercial solar farms around Hertfordshire. And more local communities are contacting us for advice on how to fight these proposals for inappropriate industrialisation of the countryside. We have developed the following resources which may be helpful.
Our CPRE Hertfordshire policy on ground mounted solar installations
Our published statement identifies the nature and scope of the issues relating to solar energy installations in the countryside. These issues include the need for sustainable energy, options for solar energy provision, agricultural land, landscape and visual impact, wildlife impact, manufacturing and decommissioning, fire hazard, reinstatement and community provision.
We recommend reasoned policy positions to assist individuals and communities in making representations to local planning authorities regarding planning applications for the inappropriate development of ground-level solar energy installations.
Our campaign booklet ‘The problem with solar farms’
In collaboration with our colleagues at CPRE Essex, we’re pleased to be providing advice to a network of community groups and parish councils across the two counties. This campaign booklet explains issues including solar energy inefficiency, impact on landscape, loss of agricultural productivity, impact on wildlife, and impact on residential and recreational amenity.
Our solar inventory
We are tracking proposals right across Hertfordshire in our solar inventory (last updated 19 Nov 2023). If you know of any proposals not listed, please do get in touch and let us know, so we can keep this inventory up to date.