Sajid Javid has followed in the footsteps of Greg Clark and Eric Pickles in blocking solar farms over concerns for the impact on the green belt.

Communities secretary Sajid Javid has refused appeals from two solar developers to overturn refusals for proposed solar developments in the latest ruling to favour upkeep of the green belt over contributions to the national targets for renewable energy generation.

The proposed 5MW developments – located at New Fen Dike in Lincolnshire and on land north of Codicote in Hertfordshire – were refused by the former business secretary due to their perceived impact on the surroundings.

The Lincolnshire development was put forward by Little EAU Solar, which lists managing partners from renewables investor Bluefield as company directors. It was refused by Javid due to the “limited harm” from the use of best and most versatile (BMV) land as well as the “minor impact” on two nearby listed buildings.

Despite the low impact perceived by the development on its own, the proposed site lies near the existing Fendyke solar farm and according to a decision letter sent by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG): “The Secretary of State finds substantial harm to the character and appearance of the countryside, both alone and cumulatively with the Fendyke Farm site, and attaches significant weight to this.”

These concerns have beaten out the potential benefits of the scheme, which the letter states “would make a small but important contribution towards the government’s commitment to renewable energy generation and assist in tackling climate change”.

Similar reasoning was used to refuse the appeal from Lightsource for its 5MW site in Hertfordshire, which was turned down over the “harm” it would have on the green belt and overall effect on the “landscape character and visual appearance of the area”.

Calling it an inappropriate development in the green belt, these issues overrode the significant contribution of 4,575 MWh of clean energy per year the project could have made towards the government’s efforts to tackle climate change.

Other benefits from ecological enhancement and to the local economy were also discounted in both cases as not capable of outweighing the ‘harm’ caused by the developments.

Since being moved to DCLG from the former Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in July, Javid has become the latest in a long line of secretaries of state to hold sway over solar farm planning appeals.

His predecessor Greg Clark, who took over the new Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy from Javid, had been heavily involved in blocking a number of solar farms from being developed while in this post.

He dismissed almost 100MW of solar capacity in the three months to February and ruled against a number of solar farms of different sizes, often citing possible harm to the green belt as his reasoning in agreement with the Planning Inspectorate.

Prior to Clark, Eric Pickles regularly rejected large scale solar developments for the same reason.