Secret wind farm report into house price blight

August 23, 2013 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Mr Davey has strongly denied that anyone in his department is trying to
suppress the investigation.

It has emerged that a significant focus of the report will be the financial
impact of wind farms upon the value of neighbouring properties.

Opponents of wind farms claim it is “highly likely” that the report will
reveal that turbines in rural areas will detract from the value of nearby
homes.

The consultancy company, Frontier Economics, has been asked by Defra to
calculate how house prices will be affected by a series of energy projects
across Britain. It has been asked to look at onshore and offshore wind,
overhead power lines, shale gas, anaerobic digestion plants and nuclear
power plants.

The remit of the report states that it “aims to determine whether [energy
projects] have a significant impact on the prices of houses nearby and, if
so, compare how that impact differs between different types”.

It will feed into Mr Paterson’s final report on how renewables affect the
countryside and the rural economy.

MPs tonight said that Mr Paterson must be allowed to publish his department’s
findings.

Chris Heaton-Harris, the Conservative MP for Daventry, said: “Wind farms
definitely affect house prices and it is highly likely that this report will
come to that conclusion.

“I would expect there to be billions of pounds of planning blight because of
wind turbines close to properties.”

He added: “It’s almost like elements of DECC are acting like a mafia … now
you’ve got DECC trying to stick its dirty great footprints all over another
department’s work.

“While this is unsurprising, it will all unravel in the end and I’m sure the
evidence will come out soon that proves a number of these points correct.”

He said that one of his constituents had seen the value of their £700,000
property fall by £250,000 because of approved plans for a wind turbine.

Glyn Davies, the Conservative MP for Montgomeryshire, said: “I’m expecting
this report to find that house prices will be reduced over the country by a
measure of billions. It is my view that any unbiased study will show that.
What is absolutely crucial is that this report is allowed to come out.” He
added: “I can’t see how anyone wouldn’t want the public to know the
conclusions – irrespective of what the report says.”

In a letter to The Daily Telegraph today, Mr Davey says: “My department
is not blocking a Defra report on the impact of wind farms.

“The Government is committed to moving to a secure, affordable, low carbon
energy system, without excessively relying on any single technology.

“So, this cross-government study will look at maximising the benefits and
minimising the negative impacts of all technologies, including shale gas and
nuclear.”

Details of the study, the first major review of renewables and their impact on
house prices, were disclosed in The ENDS Report , an environmental policy
magazine. A spokesman for Defra 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.”

Jennifer Webber, of RenewableUK, said: “All the expert academic research
published in this country and abroad over the last few years shows there’s
no conclusive evidence to suggest that wind farms affect house prices.”

The dispute between Defra and DECC comes after a series of Coalition rows over
wind farms. Mr Davey last year slapped down a former Conservative energy
minister, John Hayes, after he said the spread of wind farms across the
countryside would be brought to a halt.

David Cameron this month said people should not “expect to see a lot more wind
power onshore in the UK” and that there was a “limited potential for onshore
wind”.

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