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Introducing Little Heath Lane Solar Park

Energi Generation (applicant) is exploring opportunities for a potential solar park on land east of Little Heath Lane, Berkhamsted, Hertfordshire HP4 2RT. The solar scheme would have a capacity of 25MW. Based on the assumption that an average household in England has an annual electricity consumption of 2,900kWh, the project has the potential to provide power for the equivalent of up to 8,500 households and prevent about 5,700 tonnes of carbon dioxide from entering the atmosphere each year.

Dacorum Borough Council has declared a climate and ecological emergency and made a pledge to become net zero by 2030. Little Health Lane Solar Park will make a significant contribution to the borough reaching its net-zero target by suppling clean electricity and providing ecological enhancements to the area.

The proposed site and surroundings

The proposed site lies about 370m north of the centre of Bourne End and 3.2km west of the centre of Hemel Hempstead. It is currently an agricultural field with boundary hedgerows to the north, south and west. A railway line also runs along the southern aspect and, from there, the land slopes up towards the north.

Current use of land: Agricultural
Flood zone rating: Flood zone 1
Total site area: 32 hectares
Land designation: Green belt
Site access: Good
Point of connection location: On-site connection to 33-kV pole on western boundary

Indicative site layout

Benefits

Benefits of the solar park

In 2019, the UK Government adopted a legally binding target to become a net zero economy by 2050, in an effort to fight climate change and deliver a more sustainable society for all. In order to achieve that, the UK will have to increase the production of renewable energy, including solar energy.

In addition, the generation of local clean energy will support security of energy supply, reducing our dependence from fossil fuels.

This application presents an opportunity for a renewable energy development that will produce a significant amount of renewable, carbon-free electricity and connect directly to the local energy distribution network, thereby helping to support the nation’s wider renewable energy strategy and meet the government’s identified clean energy targets. The proposal has also been designed to minimise any potential impacts on the environment and to provide an opportunity for biodiversity net gain throughout the site.


Economic

There is now a growing demand for renewable energy sources in the UK because of increased awareness of the current climate emergency. Solar farms such as this development present an ideal solution, given their relatively quick start-up times and low maintenance costs.

The proposal will provide long- and short-term jobs and will support the diversification of an agricultural business.

The proposed development is a temporary installation that will not result in any permanent loss of agricultural land.


Environmental

The proposed development will minimise any potential impacts on the environment and provide biodiversity net gains throughout the site.

The project will have a life span of about 40 years and is expected to export up to 25,000MWh/y to the local distribution network. Based on the assumption that an average household in England has an electricity consumption of 2,900kWh, the project could potentially provide power for the equivalent of 8,500 households every year.


Social

Renewable energy generation will help in alleviating climate change and the social issues that this causes.


Biodiversity net gain

The proposed development will minimise any potential impacts on the environment and, in addition, provide at least 30% biodiversity net gain throughout the site. In particular, we are seeking to enhance local habitats by implementing measures such as creating and enhancing existing site boundaries using native species, introducing a wildflower mix across the site and taking the site out of intensive crop production.