After considering the information made available to her, the Secretary of State agrees with NRWs conclusion that sufficient information has ot been submitted by the Applicate to conclude whether or not there will be an adverse effect on the integrity of the Elenydd-Mallae SPA, in respect of red kites as a qualifying feature specifically:
- The Secretary of State accepts NRW's advice that it has not been proven beyond reasonable scientific doubt that the red kite using the Project site do not come from the SPA.
- The Applicant has not provided information on the in-combination impact of the Project with other wind farms as they state that there is no connectivity between the wind farms and the SPA. The Secretary of State, however, considered that the Applicant has not demonstrated sufficiently that there is unlikely to be a significant in-combination effect on red kite, as the red kite collision risk figures for the other developments have not been provided and considered by the Applicant.
- Mitigation had been proposed by the Applicant to address the issue of collision risk through aiming to avoid making the area under and around turbines attractive to red kite. Although this mitigation may reduce red kite numbers, there is no certainty that this will be the result and there has been no qualification of the reduction in the likely collision numbers.
- The Secretary of State shares the concerns of NRW as to the age and methodology of the surveys that informed the Applicant's assessment, as they did not conform to recommended good practice guidance.
The Secretary of State further notes that the burden of proof is on the Applicant to demonstrate that their proposed Development will not adversely affect protected features of European sites, rather than on statutory advisers to demonstrate that harm will occur.