Wind farms wipe 11% from house prices

Western Morning News 28 January 2014

Properties in the shadow of huge wind turbines have seen 11 per cent wiped off their value, according to a major new study of their impact.

The London School of Economics (LSE) analysed the vale of more than a million homes adjacent to wind farms over a 12 year period.

It found those closes to large turbines had seen their properties devalued by 11% while homes within 2.5 miles could experience a price reduction of up to 3%. Those within half-a-mile of much smaller wind farms could also suffer a 7% loss because of blighted views.

Based on the average UK house of £250,000, homeowners could have lost as much as £27,000.

Past research on the link have been limited and the LSE study, which is due to be published next month, could provide the first robust evidence.

The report’s author, Professor Steve Gibbons, Director of LSE’s Spatial Economics Research Centre, told the Daily Mail: “Property prices are going up in places where they’re not visible and down in the places where they are.”

Wind farm applications – particularly for the largest turbines – have been among the most controversial developments in the Westcountry in recent years. In addition to new sites, smaller turbines at existing wind farms have also been upgraded.

Bob Barfoot, chairman of the Campaign to Protect Rural England in North Devon, said he believed the 11% figure was “far too low”.

“There are houses now that are unsaleable because of wind turbines,” he said. “If you were faced with a choice between buying a home with a wind turbine in its face or one with beautiful countryside views, which one are you going to pick?”

Mr Barfoot, said there was an emotional, as well as a financial, cost for property owners affected by turbines saying many felt their homes had been “violated” by the development.

He added: “In the beginning, the turbines were sited in remote areas, on top of hills, where it is windiest. They were picked up in the space of a few years.

“They are now looking at sites which they wouldn’t have considered before, using bigger turbines because it is less windy, bringing them much closer to communities.”

Early results from the LSE study emerged as the Government conducts its own investigation into the alleged blight of turbines in rural areas.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson last year announced he had brought in consultants Frontier Economics to establish the loss to house prices caused by onshore wind developments. It is part of a wider study into how renewables impact on the countryside and the rural economy.

A spokesman for the Department for Energy and Climate Change (Decc) said: “The evidence of the impact on property prices of the presence of a wind farm is mixed.

“We have changed the law to require onshore wind developers to consult with local people before they put in a planning application and onshore wind developments will only get planning permission where the impacts are acceptable.”