New research blows away myths on wind farms

A new report from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Oxford Brookes University has blown away another myth about wind farms - their impact on house prices. The research found no clear relationship between the proximity of wind farms and property prices, and suggested that this may be an urban myth with apparent changes in value disappearing when examined closely.

Chris Tomlinson, Director of Programme Strategy at BWEA commented: "This new report is the third in as many years which reaffirms that there is no empirical evidence to demonstrate a direct link between operating wind farms and house prices. The report also takes a refreshing look at NIMBYism and tells us what we have known for some time - objections to wind farms are often found to be less about genuine local concerns and more about wider ideological issues, submitted from those who live hundreds of miles from the development site. In fact local people who live near operating wind farms are the strongest advocates of wind energy."

The study looked at transactions of residential property near wind farms at two locations in Cornwall, and found that while terraced and semi-detached houses within a mile of one of the wind farms were lower in value than similar houses at a distance of four miles, other factors influenced the devaluation: the houses in question were ex-Ministry of Defence properties and were less desirable.

The study found no change in property prices beyond one mile from the wind farms.

The RICS-Oxford Brookes research also referred to the findings of another extensive study conducted in the United States which showed that far from having a negative impact on value, property prices within a five mile radius of a wind farm appeared to rise above the regional average, suggesting that wind turbines actually had a positive effect on value.

Meanwhile in Scotland, recent research from the Edinburgh Solicitors' Property Centre (ESPC) focusing on property sales near Crystal Rig wind farm in the Scottish Borders found no evidence of a negative impact on the price of property in nearby areas. The ESPC study found that prices in the village of Dunbar had risen from below to above the regional average over the past four years, during which time the wind farm was built, and that since the wind farm began operating, property price inflation in Dunbar has continued to exceed that achieved across East Lothian.

Tomlinson concluded: "This new research is yet another nail in the coffin of some of the exaggerated myths peddled by opponents of wind power."
Alison Hill

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