An energy developer says it is "disappointed" after its unpopular plans for a solar farm were comprehensively refused permission.

Earlier this month, Hertsmere Borough Council turned down a proposal for thousands of solar panels to be erected across green belt land between Radlett and Elstree.

The decision was welcomed by campaigners who were concerned about the size of the scheme and its visual impact.

Nearly 2,000 people filed objections to the solar farm making it the most contentious application in the council's history.

Watford Observer: A banner in Radlett at the beginning of 2021 opposing the solar farm. Credit: Lynn Margolis PhotographyA banner in Radlett at the beginning of 2021 opposing the solar farm. Credit: Lynn Margolis Photography

But as with any planning refusal, the applicant has a right to appeal a decision. In this case, Enso Energy says it is "currently considering its options".

Simon Wheeler, head of development at Enso Energy, said: "It is undoubtedly disappointing that our application for a solar farm, recommended for approval by Hertsmere Borough Council officers, was refused planning consent. This was a planning balance decision, which was decided after a debate that lacked proper consideration of the benefits that the project would deliver.

"The decision will no doubt also come as a disappointment to those that can’t yet enjoy the benefits of the application; the 15,600 homes that would be powered by renewable electricity or those that wanted to see the significant improvements in biodiversity the application would have delivered.

"We remain convinced of the benefits this proposal would provide to the people of Hertsmere and the country, and are currently considering our options."

Watford Observer: Marked in blue are the fields that would have been used for the solar farmMarked in blue are the fields that would have been used for the solar farm

Following a debate on November 11, councillors concluded the solar farm represented "inappropriate development within the green belt" and felt there weren't any "very special circumstances" that would allow the land to be used for the proposed purpose.

Members also mentioned that the solar farm would not necessarily benefit residents in Hertsmere. The land on the Aldenham Estate had been selected because of its proximity to the Hilfield National Grid substation.

Enso said its plan was for the solar farm to be dismantled after 35 years.

Speaking after the meeting, Sharon Woolf, who co-led the campaign to 'stop the solar plant' said democracy had "prevailed".

She added: "Yes we have a need for renewable energy, however our call out for climate change is also about protecting Earth's nature, not ripping it up for generations to come.

"Thirty-five years is not temporary for a large majority of our community."