We have expressed concerns in relation to Planning application EPF/1954/23 for 1,000 solar panels on land adjacent to Epping Forest. 

Planning application EPF/1954/23 is for a solar farm on land in Buckhurst Hill next to the A104, the Epping New Road. The land is currently used as grazing and paddocks for a stable that are on the site. It is one of the rare remaining areas where the Forest is directly adjacent to open green land. The application seeks permission the installation of 1,000 ground mounted solar panels. The application suggests “the electricity generated by the proposed solar panels will be an environmental benefit of considerable weight sufficient to outweigh any resultant harm to the openness of the green belt”.  

However, after reviewing relevant documents, we are concerned that this site’s closeness to a part of the Forest which is a Special Conservation Area (SAC) and a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and are seeking reassurance that possible negative impact to the Forest have been fully considered. 

You can view our full response here.

Draft policy: A brief note on Solar Farms and how Epping Forest Heritage Trust might respond to proposals to develop them on land adjacent to the Forest. 

Recently, EFHT has learnt of two proposals for the large-scale installation of solar panels on land adjacent to Epping Forest. One is for a solar farm in Buckhurst Hill and the other is for the installation of panels at the West Essex Golf Club near to Gilwell Park. Both applications present the Trust with a challenge as to how it should respond. On the one hand, we support the switch to greener energy, not least because of the effect of pollution from vehicles powered by fossil fuels have on the Forest. On the other hand, we are opposed to inappropriate development on the Forest’s boundaries which can harm its status as a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). 

We have drafted a policy suggests how EFHT might respond to these and future applications for the installation of solar farms and large-scale solar panels on land near to the Forest. View our draft policy here. 

We would love your views on this. Please email us at: policy@efht.org.uk