Solar farm bidders on charm offensive

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Residents living close to the sites of two proposed solar farms are being invited to have their say.

The proposed farms on land north of Chiltern Green Road and Plummers Lane, Harpenden, will generate enough energy to power more than 7,500 homes say developers Lightsource Renewable


The initial designs for the proposed solar farms have already been sent out to residents and Lightsource hopes the community will get involved and share their local knowledge to refine the plans.

Two Community Information Events will be held to discuss the proposals, the first on Monday August 18 to discuss land north of Chiltern Green Road and the second will be held on Wednesday August 20 to discuss land east of Plummers Lane.

Both sites have been carefully selected, say developers, as they are well-contained by existing vegetation which will keep potential views into the site to a minimum. Lightsource plan to bolster screening with the planting of new trees and hedgerows on the boundaries of each solar farm wherever needed. The new planting around the sites will also have the added benefit of strengthening wildlife foraging habitats.

Lightsource’s planning team is working alongside ecologists to create bespoke Biodiversity Management Plans for each site to ensure that native species benefit from planting, seeding and habitat creation.

Lightsource is currently discussing plans to graze sheep on both sites.

Conor McGuigan, Planning and Development Director at Lightsource, said: “Once installed, a solar farm is remarkably passive in nature which allows plenty of scope for diversification.

“As the solar panels would occupy less than 30 per cent of the site, the rest of the land can be used for a variety of agricultural uses. Biodiversity enhancements on the sites can also encourage and protect local wildlife - such as wildflower seeding to encourage bees and insects, log pile habitats for reptiles and amphibians, as well as bird, bat and barn owl boxes to encourage nesting and roosting in the area. It’s still early days for the plans, but there are many ways people can get involved.”

Designs for the solar farms are now available to view online on Lightsource’s web based Community Portal:

The Chiltern Green Road meeting is at East Hyde Village Hall on August 18 from 5.30-8pm and the Plummers Lane meeting is on August 20, again from 5.30-8pm at The Memorial Hall,Marford Road, Wheathampstead.