Inquiry into turbines' effect on house prices
THE Government is investigating whether the alleged blight of huge wind turbines in rural areas depresses prices of properties in their shadow.
Anti-turbine campaigners this week welcomed the review against protestations the "green" technology has no bearing on the housing market despite "common sense" suggesting they have a negative effect.
The march of towering turbines in rural Cornwall is one of the most contentious issues in the region.
Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has brought in consultants Frontier Economics to establish the loss to house prices caused by onshore wind turbines. Studies to date on the link have been limited in scope.
Buy one get one free on main course and specials excludes fillet steaks and beef Wellington
Must book to qualify 01209 860332 and present voucher on arrival
Mon- Thur 6-9pm
Contact: 01209 700617
Valid until: Saturday, December 21 2013
Peter Symons, a partner in Stags, one of the region's largest estate agencies, said house prices could be hit by as much as 20 per cent if a development was especially unsightly – but that was more likely to be a power station or prison.
He said: "We have, for some time, been faced with prices being reduced because of physical factors, be it a school or a pylon or a prison.
"And a wind turbine singular, or wind farm plural, or solar PV, all these things come into play. But the effect on prices depends in every single different circumstance.
"Before it happens people think it will be a disaster, but when the thing is built it is often not so bad."
The work is part of a wider study into how renewables impact on the countryside and the rural economy.
The report is a joint project between Mr Paterson's Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for Energy and Climate Change (Decc).
A Defra spokesman said: "It is our role to rural-proof policy. We need to ensure that energy is generated in a way that is sustainable. Sustainability includes the economic as well as social and environmental impacts."
A House of Commons research paper last year said academic studies that examined whether wind farms actually reduce house prices were "not at all agreed".
In 2007, Oxford Brookes University looked at properties in Cornwall and commented that "the 'threat' of a wind farm may have a more significant impact than the actual presence of one".
Surveys commissioned by National Wind Power, now npower Renewables, found around three in four residents close to wind developments reported "no effect".
But another study analysed 201 sales transactions from houses situated within half of a mile of a 16-turbine windfarm in Cornwall, and indicated less benign conditions.
It found "some evidence" to suggest that both noise and flicker from the turbine blades "could blight certain property and that the view of countryside enjoyed by the occupier had some value which may be affected by a windfarm".