There are currently some 80 wind energy projects operating throughout the UK, and survey evidence to date does not reveal a negative trend in property values amongst properties in proximity to wind farms. According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, there are no studies that suggest an effect either way, but at Nympsfield in Gloucestershire, house prices continued to gain after plans for the turbine were announced in 1992 and have continued to increase since the turbine began operating in 1997.
There is currently no evidence in the UK showing that wind farms have a long-term impact on house prices. An extensive study was completed by a US Government-funded agency in 2003. This study examined around 25,000 property sales records over six years, straddling the pre- and post-construction periods of individual wind farms. The wind farms were built between 1998 and 2001. The study undertook three types of statistical assessment for each of 10 wind farm developments (a total of 30analyses), looking at the immediate vicinity of the wind farm and at comparable communities without a wind farm. The study found that in26 of these analyses, property values within 8km of the turbines actually performed better than in the comparable community.
Two separate surveys around the Taff Ely Wind Farm in Mid-Glamorgan and Ardrossan Wind Farm in North Ayrshire drew similar conclusions. In Wales, Chartered Surveyors and planning consultants Dalton Warner Davies (DWD) looked at house sales around the Taff Ely Wind Farm in Mid-Glamorgan over a three-year period, with some properties only approximately 1km from the wind farm.
The survey, carried out in 2006, found that three areas of housing had expanded since the wind farm began operating, and that asking prices were unaffected by having a direct view of the wind farm. A comparison of ‘for sale’ prices and original sales prices at 38 properties revealed a 91% increase between2002 and 2005, compared to an 85% increase between sales prices over the same period elsewhere in Wales. Six local estate agents were also contacted and all reported that the wind farm did not have any effect on house prices.
The Scottish survey was carried out by Glasgow-based CKD Galbraith, who selected the Ardrossan development because it is relatively close to a built-up area. Operational since 2004, the wind farm is clearly visible from the northern parts of two towns, Ardrossan and Saltcoats, and partially visible from West Kilbride.
Sale prices were tracked from 2000 and compared to the HBOS (non-seasonally adjusted) Average Price Change for Scotland (all houses). The study found that:
“Between 2000 and March 2004, values in the survey area on average increased by 23.1% compared to 7.4% for the Scotland-wide statistics. Similarly, from March 2004 [when the wind farm became operational] to date, property values in the survey area increased by 26% compared to the Scottish average of 17.1%.”There have been a number of studies conducted which establish that this is not the case. There is no clear evidence of effects on property prices. A new report in March 2007 from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) and Oxford Brookes University has blown away the myth about wind farms negatively impacting 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. Recent research from the Edinburgh Solicitors’ Property Centre (ESPC) (February 2007) 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. Other Independent, expert studies in Wales and Scotland have compared the increase in house prices near three operating wind farms with house prices further a field. Rather than a drop in house values, all three studies showed a faster rate of price increase in the houses near the wind farms. This is supported by a 2003 American study based on 25,000 homes within a 5-mile radius of various wind farms which again found an increase rather than a decrease in values.
Infinergy would like to advise people to look at several websites for further information on this issue: