In February, members of the Elstree and Borehamwood Greenbelt Society (EBGBS) went from door to door to encourage residents to oppose building plans put to Hertsmere Borough Council. Residents lodged 1400 objections against a 130-hectare solar farm between Elstree and Radlett.

The London greenbelt was formed by law in 1938 to prevent development around the growing city. In 1959, the battles for building on Woodcock Hill, located on the south side of Borehamwood, began. Ever since, the EBGBS has been campaigning to protect green spaces around Elstree and Borehamwood, including Aldenham Reservoir, a relic of the Industrial Revolution.

The non-profit organisation works alongside other resident-led organisations and the town, borough and county councils to preserve as much green space as possible. Although the society often opposes building on the greenbelt, members have supported building on low-quality greenbelt land, backing the proposed Sky Studio complex last year. The EBGBS informs locals about the issues facing their local environment and voices their concerns. The society also voices the concerns of young people and recently appointed a Youth Representative on their committee. 

Dr Ann Goddard, chair of the EBGBS, said, “We constantly flag up pollution as a reason for objection... We are only a campaigning organisation and cannot prevent Hertsmere Borough Council from doing anything, but our views are taken into consideration.”

Although the borough council considers their views, the society needs to raise more awareness about their work. When asked about the number of members the society has, Dr Goddard replied, “Not enough! About 250 - 300. We have 130 households with all their inhabitants. We keep campaigning for more… We have stalls at local events with leaflets and membership forms. We put up banners and email the press and local authorities and influential people. Our MP, Oliver Dowden, is very helpful. We speak at Parish Meetings and, I was once on the telly being interviewed about housing on greenbelt land!”

Speaking about the coronavirus pandemic, Dr Goddard said, “We have had to meet by zoom but have carried on more or less as before. The drop in atmospheric pollution and decrease in road and air traffic was very welcome and had a noticeable effect on wildlife.”

“Contact with nature is known to benefit mental and physical health and, exercise is important for everyone. Besides, the British Isles have some of the most beautiful places in the world. We must keep them protected. I believe we should share the Earth with the other animals and not grab it all for ourselves. If we do that, we shall hasten our extinction and serve us right! I do have hope that we will become wise as well as clever and turn this climate change round.”

If you are passionate about your local environment and would like to support the EBGBS, visit If you live in nearby Radlett, consider joining the Radlett Society and Greenbelt Association at