In a decision letter issued last week, Rudd refused to grant development consent for applicant Mynydd y Gwynt Ltd’s proposed onshore wind farm in Powys, east of Aberystwyth, which would have comprised up to 27 turbines with a generating capacity of up 89.1 megawatts.
The application for the development at Glanrhyd, eight kilometres west of Llangurig, was submitted via the fast-track Planning Act 2008 regime for nationally significant infrastructure projects (NSIPs). The refusal comes two months after the government blocked a major wind farm off the coast of Dorset.
Examining inspector Philip Asquith had recommended that approval be granted. His note said there would be "some significant local adverse effects from the proposed development in terms of notable landscape character and visual intrusion, for which there would be little possible further mitigation".
But he concluded that the adverse impacts identified would not be so damaging as to outweigh the presumption in favour of the development set out in EN-1, the overarching national policy statement for energy, "and the benefits of increasing the contribution of renewable energy".
However, in her decision letter, Rudd said she did not have the information required to assess appropriately the impact of the development on the integrity of the Elenydd–Mallaen special protection area (SPA), "despite further questions having been issued by the secretary of state after the close of the examination".
"Consequently, the secretary of state cannot grant development consent because she is not able to conclude that there is no adverse effect on the integrity of the red kite feature of the Elenydd–Mallaen SPA," the decision letter said.
It added: "Further, the secretary of state is not able to consider the application under the provisions set out in regulation 22 (overriding public interest) in the absence of sufficient information to consider the possible environmental effects of the development."