Eyesore fears over bid for 54 acre Harpenden solar farm project

Controversy surrounds the latest solar panel proposals

Controversy surrounds the latest solar panel proposals - Credit: Archant

Controversy surrounds the most recent proposal for a solar farm, which adds to the already lengthy list of such schemes across the county.

The proposed site is in Plummers Lane, Harpenden, where up to 54 acres could be covered with solar panels.

It has been met with concerns from Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) Hertfordshire, which has received many complaints from residents about the potential eyesore.

CPRE Hertfordshire Director, Kevin FitzGerald, said: “Solar farms can bring benefits but they should be located where they do not destroy the natural beauty of the countryside.

“Nor should high grade agricultural land be sacrificed for energy production at a time when England’s food production has significantly reduced in the last 20 years.”

These proposals are the latest in many from across the county that have been put forward this year.

Kevin added: “Our issue is you put all of these together and it comes to a lot. This looks like the start of something that is going to grow.”

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Kevin believes that the spike in proposals relates to Prime Minister David Cameron’s hint that the government are looking to cut subsidies across environmental services.

“At the moment these solar farms are subsidised by the government, but people are starting to panic and get them in sooner rather than later.”

There are arguments that the use of solar farms in the area could be good for the community.

The company behind the latest proposal, Lightsource, say that the farm could generate enough energy to power up to 7,500 homes.

Conor McGuigan, planning and development director at Lightsource, said: “The site is well-contained within dense woodland and we plan to enhance vegetation wherever needed to reduce possible views into the solar farm.

“The application is for temporary planning permission and at the end of the working life of the solar farms all infrastructure can be easily removed to restore the site to green field land.”