If you live near an industrial wind turbine array your property may lose up to 20% to 30% of its value or, in the worst case, be rendered unsaleable, i.e. worthless. Don’t bother complaining: damage to property values is not a valid planning objection.
You will not be compensated for your loss, unlike Danish victims of turbine blight who receive token compensation through the state energy agency (see below).
The wind industry’s increasingly desperate attempts to claim that wind turbine arrays do not affect house prices have received yet another blow.
A study by the London School of Economics (LSE) which covered more than a million homes in close proximity to large wind farms over a 12-year period, finds that property values fell by up to 11 per cent. 
The report’s author, Professor Steve Gibbons, Director of LSE’s Spatial Economics Research Centre, is reported as saying that, “Property prices are going up in places where they’re not visible and down in the places where they are.” 
A feature article on Economic and Social Research Council’s website noted that:
If we take these [research] figures seriously as estimates of the mean willingness to pay to avoid wind farms in communities exposed to their development, the implied costs are substantial. Rough calculations based on the estimates suggest that the implied social costs on the local community (within four kilometres) amounts to about £5.6 million per operational wind farm, or about £210 per household per year. There may be some understandable economic justification for the ‘nimbyism’ of wind farm opposition. 
These finding add to the very long list of research findings in other countries which have have supported the everyday experience of people that turbines reduce house values, a finding which has already found support in the quasi-judicial findings of Valuation Office Agency tribunals which have rebanded properties near wind farms on the basis of reduced valuations.
 ‘Gone with the wind: valuing the local impacts of wind turbines through house prices’ (Preliminary Draft), Stephen Gibbons, November 2013 (PDF download).
 ‘Wind farms proven to cut house prices by 11%, says LSE report’, The Telegraph, 27 January, 2014.
 ‘The cost of being green’, Economic and Social Research Council, Features, 4 December, 2013.
Utility Week, 26 February, 2014.
‘In a leaflet distributed at a local meeting, West Coast Energy said there was no evidence wind turbines reduced nearby property values and they could even have a positive impact.
‘However, following a complaint, the ASA ruled the company must stop using the leaflet and not repeat the claims without more robust evidence.
ASA Complaint Ref. A13-246865.
Sunday Post, 29 september, 2013.
‘Housing values plummet in shadow of turbine developments.
‘A storm of protest has been whipped up by hundreds of people who claim their homes are being slashed in value by wind farms.
‘Some fear they have lost six-figure sums after failing to sell their property near imposing turbines.
‘Anti-wind farm campaigners and politicians claim they have been inundated with pleas for help from homeowners terrified about being left penniless.
‘Linda Holt, of Scotland Against Spin, said: “Estate agents are now advising those wanting to sell their homes to lower the price by 30%. Sadly, some find they cannot sell at all.”
‘Struan Stevenson MEP added: “Some homeowners are suicidal because their homes are worth a fraction of their original cost and many were counting on them for their pensions.
‘“The rush to make millions from wind farms is a cruel blow to homeowners whose only crime has been to live in the countryside.”
‘Mr Stevenson has put down an amendment to a bill going through the European Parliament to assess the impact of wind farms on house prices.
The Australian, 12 February, 2013
‘A FEDERAL magistrate has accepted that wind farms slash the value of surrounding properties, saying she found it “hard to imagine” any prospective buyer could ignore such development.
‘In a decision believed to be the first time an Australian court has recognised the adverse financial impact of wind farms for neighbours, magistrate Kate Hughes ruled a property would be worth 17 per cent less if a 14-turbine facility were erected next door.
For one part of the property, in regional Victoria, she accepted a 33 per cent fall in value was likely.
Telegraph, 1 Nov 2012
’A wind farm developer has withdrawn a leaflet claiming wind turbines do not affect house prices following a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority.
’The move follows an objection from an anti–wind farm campaigner who complained about material handed out by Wind Prospect Developments Ltd at an exhibition on a proposed 12–turbine development in Midlothian, Scotland.
’The leaflet, produced by the industry trade body RenewableUK, claimed that it was a “myth” that wind farms reduced the value of nearby houses.
But following the complaint from Celia Hobbs, from Penicuik, who has been fighting wind farm proposals for seven years, the ASA confirmed that Wind Prospect had provided a written assurance that it would not use the leaflet again.
A government agency has confirmed what the wind industry claims to be “a myth”: that there is evidence that wind power stations damage property values.
The Valuation Office Agency has re-banded homes into lower council tax categories.
It is known that at least five homeowners have seen their properties officially downgraded by the VOA because of their proximity to windfarms. Only cases that go to appeal are made public by the agency, suggesting many more applications have been received for council tax discounts. The Agency has refused to answer Freedom of Information requests on overall numbers because of expense - they do not record the different reasons for banding decisions.
In one case, a couple near the Fullabrook turbine site in North Devon saw the value of their property fall from £400,000 to £300,000 when they asked estate agents to value it. The home is only 650 yards from three of the turbines.
The VOA agreed to reband their property, saving the couple £400 a year in council tax.
The Danish government, unlike the UK government and their friends in the wind industry, recognises that massive industrial turbines damage property values. They have a scheme which forces wind developers to fully compensate householders for their loss:
An erector of a wind turbine has a duty to pay compensation for loss of value of real property following the erection of the wind turbine. The size of the loss of value is determined by an appraisal authority.
If a property loses more than 1 per cent in value due to the erection of new wind turbines, the owner is ensured full compensation for his loss. The owner of the property must notify his claim for compensation for loss of value to Energinet.dk. As owner of the property you can choose to enter into a voluntary agreement for compensation for the loss of value with the erector of the wind turbine, or you can ask an impartial appraisal authority to make a specific appraisal of the property and determine the scope of your loss.
(Danish Energy Agency website: ‘Loss of value to real property due the erection of wind turbines’)
Copenhagen Post, 12 November, 2012
‘People living next to wind turbines say that their compensation does not reflect the actual value of their property losses. Better than nothing, politicians counter.
‘An evaluation of the 551 compensation payments made to people living next to wind turbines indicates that the average amount was 57,000 kroner per household [c. £6,125 as of 12/11/2012]. Estate agents say the amount is often far below the actual property value loss, which in some cases is up to 20 percent.
‘The loss-of-value clause was passed by parliment in 2008 at the urging of Dansk Folkeparti (DF) and gave neighbours to wind turbines the opportunity to seek financial compensation for lost property value. Fifty-three percent of applicants have received compensation, but those that have had money awarded say the amount did not come close to reflecting the actual value.
‘One of them, Torben Tornvig, from the Jutland town of Brande, was awarded 75,000 kroner to compensate for the loss incurred as a result of the 150m wind turbines currently being built 630 metres from his home.
“I don’t want to live here with my family and I am very disappointed in the compensation amount,” Tornvig told Jyllands-Posten newspaper. “My estate agent has estimated that my property value has depreciated by at least 500,000 kroner. The 75,000 kroner payment is nothing when you have towering windmills so close. I don’t even know if I can sell the property.”
‘The DF environmental spokesperson, Jørn Dohrmann, acknowledged the frustration of people living next to wind turbines, but underlined that some compensation was better than nothing.
‘“We know that the large wind turbines are a bother to people living next to them and that they devalue their properties. We can always discuss whether the amounts suffice, but we got the compensation deal through, otherwise they wouldn't have got anything,” Dohrmann told Jyllands-Posten.
On 16th March, 2009, the Danish association for Danes with houses in Sweden, ‘Danske Torpare’, petitioned the Swedish government regarding problems with turbines on behalf of their c. 10,000 members. A copy was sent to the Danish government.
It should be noted that the Danes, with the highest density of turbines in the world, are very familiar with the problems caused by wind power developments.
Their report on the situation noted that, “Sweden’s future development of wind power to 2020 may become a serious economic problem for many Danes with holiday properties in the country’s southern forestry landscapes. The erection of large wind turbines in the vicinity can bring with it a strong reduction in property value and, in certain circumstances, may make it impossible for the owner to sell his property, risking the loss of his investment.”
This document noted that:
On 27 November 2008, the association held an internal information meeting on wind power in southern Sweden with over 100 people taking part who have had personal experience of these problems in one way or another. An experienced estate agent, after having consulted many of his Swedish colleagues, informed the meeting that just a letter concerning an application for wind turbines in the vicinity immediately lowers property values by 30 per cent. And the meeting was told that wind turbines placed closer than 2000 metres to a property can make it very difficult or impossible to sell a property for holiday use.
(Our translation of ‘Synspunkter om vindkraft i Sydsverige’, 26 February 2009, from Danske Torpare, ‘Vindkraft’.
Copenhagen Post, 1 September 2010.
‘‘Mass protests mean the energy firm will look offshore’
‘State-owned energy firm Dong Energy has given up building more wind farms on Danish land, following protests from residents complaining about the noise the turbines make.
‘It had been Dong and the government’s plan that 500 large turbines be built on land over the coming 10 years, as part of a large-scale national energy plan. This plan has hit a serious stumbling block, though, due to many protests, and the firm has now given up building any more wind farms on land.
‘Anders Eldrup, the CEO of Dong Energy, told TV2 News: “It is very difficult to get the public’s acceptance if the turbines are built close to residential buildings, and therefore we are now looking at maritime options.”
The Knabs Ridge wind farm near Harrogate, North Yorkshire has had devastating impact on the neighbouring caravan park, despite assurances from a Planning Inspector that it would have no effect on neighbouring businesses.
We quote from a letter from the owners:
1. Knabs Ridge is an 8 turbine wind farm some 430 meters from our park. The first four turbines were operational early 2008 and the final four became operational towards the end of August, 2008. The official opening of the Wind Farm was held 11th November, 2008.
2. This park has been in the family ownership for 28 years and throughout that time until the wind farm was operating, the number of vacant pitches each season has been on average eight. (The park has 159 static pitches and 57 touring pitches which are normally let on a season basis).
3. We began dramatically loosing customers once the wind farm became operational. (i.e. customers began moving their static and touring vans to other parks). This was most evident from end of season i.e. November 07 At the beginning of this season (April, 2009) we had 40 empty static pitches and 15 empty touring pitches).
4. When customers advised us they were leaving, the message was loud and clear that it was because of the wind farm. (some people on site would not have purchased holiday homes if they had known about the noise and unsightly appearance of them.
5. When potential holiday home buyers come to view the park now they are deterred as soon as they see the Wind Farm.
6. There were no other reasons why we should loose so many customers other than the adverse affects of the wind farm. For example:
a) Our pitch rental did not increase dramatically.
b) Other parks in the vicinity of Harrogate, that were well away from the wind farm have performed well over the last 12 months.
c) The rules of the park have not changed.
7. We have lost £91,360.00 in pitch fee income, plus trading, plus caravan sales approx £400,000. For the last two seasons we have not sold a new holiday home since the wind farm has been here!!!!!! We normally sell at least ten. The Inquiry Inspector, in his Report on the Knabs Ridge proposal, assured us all that tourist businesses would be unaffected by the turbines and we are most upset that we have now been left in this position.
Harrogate Council has received many complaints about the noise of the turbines. A noise monitor was erected in an adjacent field, some way from the caravans, and a report was produced that claimed no problem. More work is being commissioned.
I understand that in many other European countries large turbines must be sited at least 2 km away from properties. Had this been the case here, our business would not be suffering as it is now.
A transcript of the original letter is available here.
“We were prepared for some noise from the wind turbines but were surprised how noisy they were.”
“We were very disappointed with the noise from the Wind Turbines when we booked we were not told about them - as we were in a tent there was no escape from the noise!!! ”
“...very close to the camp are a couple of wind turbines that (during the day) did not cause any problems. During the night they were a NIGHTMARE! The droning noise constantly disturbed our sleep and the sleep of other campers.”
“When we arrived there was no wind so they moved very slowly and caused no problem but once a breeze picked up - and it was only a breeze, no real movement in the tents around us, they became very annoying. I live 8 miles from an airport and so am used to regular air traffic noise but this sounded like an aircraft up above contantly. I felt sorry for those in tents as at least I got a break when I went into the caravan. During the morning when the sun came out you had the shadow of the blades going round and round across the site. I found them too annoying in the end to consider returning to this site which is a real shame.”
“lovely site a shame about the wind turbines.”
“Those windmills! Oh dear, what a shame. A once lovely site is now cursed with the woosh woosh, all day, all night!”
“However, big show-stopper for us was the recently-erected Wind Turbines (one on each side of the site) which emitted a constant ’Whoosh..whoosh which drove my wife to despair, as it did to several of the other campers.”
“A well run site completely spoilt by the noise from the wind turbines which, at times, sound like an aircraft taking off continually. Had one really bad night when I had to go for a walk at 3 am to get away from the noise, walked down to Kessingland beach for some peace and quiet.I won't be back, sorry!!”
(Camping and Caravanning Club, Kessingland site - Customer Reviews).
CBC News, 1 October, 2011.
‘Ontario’s rapid expansion in wind power projects has provoked a backlash from rural residents living near industrial wind turbines who say their property values are plummeting and they are unable to sell their homes, a CBC News investigation has found.
‘The government and the wind energy industry have long maintained turbines have no adverse effects on property values, health or the environment.
‘The CBC has documented scores of families who’ve discovered their property values are not only going downward, but also some who are unable to sell and have even abandoned their homes because of concerns nearby turbines are affecting their health.
‘Armstrong’s experience is backed up in a study by Brampton-based realtor Chris Luxemburger. The president of the Brampton Real Estate Board examined real estate listings and sales figures for the Melancthon-Amaranth area, home to 133 turbines in what is Ontario's first and largest industrial wind farm.
‘“Homes inside the windmill zones were selling for less and taking longer to sell than the homes outside the windmill zones,” said Luxemburger.
‘On average, from 2007 to 2010, he says properties adjacent to turbines sold for between 20 and 40 per cent less than comparable properties that were out of sight from the windmills.
‘Land registry documents obtained by CBC News show that some property owners who complained about noise and health issues and threatened legal action did well if they convinced the turbine companies to buy them out.
‘Canadian Hydro Developers bought out four different owners for $500,000, $350,000, $305,000 and $302,670. The company then resold each property, respectively, for $288,400, $175,000, $278,000 and $215,000.
‘In total, Canadian Hydro absorbed just over half a million dollars in losses on those four properties.
‘The new buyers were required to sign agreements acknowledging that the wind turbine facilities may affect the buyer’s “living environment” and that the power company will not be responsible for or liable from any of the buyer’s “complaints, claims, demands, suits, actions or causes of action of every kind known or unknown which may arise directly or indirectly from the Transferee’s wind turbine facilities.”
‘The energy company admits the impacts may include “heat, sound, vibration, shadow flickering of light, noise (including grey noise) or any other adverse effect or combination thereof resulting directly or indirectly from the operation.”
Chronicle-Express, Penn Yan N Y, 26 October, 2010
‘John Grabski, representing the Jerusalem Preservation Association, brought a seldom explored topic to the subject of wind farms at the Oct. 20 Jerusalem Town Council meeting - economic devaluation.
‘Public discussions on wind farms usually include noise, flicker, dead birds and discontented cows. Grabski pointed to those briefly, but his main point was to suggest measures to protect against personal property value loss. Instead of looking at the big picture of how much money wind turbines could bring to the town and landowners, he pointed out in a detailed approach how money could be lost long term.
“According to expert organizations such as professional Certified Real Estate Appraisers, industrial wind development adversely impacts land values within the immediate wind-zone and a peripheral area of approximately two miles,” according to Grabski.
‘He based his data on research conducted by the Certified Real Estate Appraisers in various states for property within two miles of wind turbines. He then applied this formula to the 346 homes and land affected by wind development, as defined by the Town of Jerusalem as a possible site. He then narrowed it down to 180 parcels located in the immediate vicinity or High Impact Area.
‘According to the findings, the property value of the 180 parcels is $18,674,000 which generates $356,000 in school and property taxes annually.
‘Based on CREA studies, property value declines from 20 to 43 percent can be expected in parcels within two miles of turbine sites. Assuming an average of this estimate, the taxable loss would be $5,602,200 for the 180 homes.
‘Over the term of a 20 year wind project, the tax revenue loss could be $2,780,571 to $5,561,014, according to calculations, based on the formula.
‘Grabski said a bond posted by the wind developer would help with lost tax revenue, and added, “People would start to sell and others would ask for lower assessments. It’s happening all over the country.”
‘“If what developers say is true, and there is no desire on the part of landowners to exit the development area, and that newcomers will continue to seek and purchase property in the wind zone, then there should be no negative impact on property values. If this is true, wind developers should be both willing and able to provide a property value guarantee to landowners with no economic risk on their part. Conversely, if property values indeed decline, then neither the wind company nor the town at large should profit at the expense of the home and land owners,” said Grabski in his address to the board.
‘The Jerusalem Preservation Association recommends putting a Property Value Bond requirement into the Wind Ordinance to protect both the citizens of Jerusalem from personal loss and the Town from citizens seeking remedy or remuneration for damage or economic loss from wind farm development. [Our emphasis].
The Journal, Ogdensburg N.Y., 8 December, 2010.
‘HAMMOND - If Hammond adopts a wind law that requires Iberdrola Renewables Inc. to compensate property owners who see drops in their land values, the company says it will scrap plans to build a proposed wind farm.
Watertown Daily Times, 20 July 2011.
‘A recent Clarkson University study found that wind power projects might depress the prices paid for surrounding properties by as much as 17 percent.
‘The study, “Values in the Wind: A Hedonic Analysis of Wind Power Facilities,” is based on the areas around three wind farms in Lewis, Clinton and Franklin counties. Clarkson assistant professor Martin D. Heintzelman and doctorate degree candidate Carrie M. Tuttle collected data from 11,331 residential and agricultural property transactions over nine years from Clinton, Franklin and Lewis counties.
The judgement confirms the visible harm and noise entailed by the proximity of the wind turbines, determining “that the property will experience a loss of value of about 20%”.
‘The proximity of a wind energy park (still in planning) could have lowered the price of a real estate property by 20%. The seller of a house in Tigné has been found liable by the court of Angers for “keeping silent”.’
‘The seller of a house sited 1.1 km from a future wind energy park in Tigné was convicted April 9 by the district court of Angers. The buyer of the property discovered, after signing the sales contract, that a wind energy project had been planned for several years in the commune and that the house that he was about to buy for $euro;180,000 would find itself in the area of six of the projected wind turbines. Considering himself a victim of “withheld information” on the part of the seller, he sought a reduction of the sale price by 20% which was refused.’
‘The judges determined that the seller “knowingly kept silent” about crucial information for establishing the price of the property and the nature of which puts into question the sales contract. The seller “hid from the buyers the existence of the plan for a wind energy park that has a strong chance of seeing the light of day, the construction permit having been signed May 15, 2007, and is therefore not hypothetical …”.’
‘The judgement confirms the visible harm and noise entailed by the proximity of the wind turbines, determining “that the property will experience a loss of value of about 20%”. Therefore the sum of €36,000 was given to the buyers of the maison on the claim of damages and interests, the sum corresponding to the lost market value of the property.’
(April 24, 2009
Le Courier de l’ouest)
The owners of this home in the Lake District successfully sued for damages because the sellers did not disclose that an industrial wind power station was planned nearby:
Wind farms ruin peace, says judge
WIND farms can ruin the peace of the countryside and destroy the value of nearby homes, a judge has ruled.
The ruling is the first of its kind and damages the wind energy industry’s assertion that it is “a myth” that property prices are affected.
District Judge Michael Buckley said that the noise, visual intrusion and flickering of light through the blades of turbines reduced the value of a house by a fifth. He said that the value of a remote house in Marton, in the Lake District, fell significantly because of the construction of a wind farm of seven 40m-high turbines 500 metres away.
“The effect is significant and it has a significant effect on the property,” he said. “It is an incursion into the countryside. It ruins the peace”. Until now the industry has insisted that wind-farm developments do not damage house prices and the British Wind Energy Association even suggests the massive turbines can increase the value of nearby homes.
(The Times, January 10, 2004)
See also: ‘Giant blades are slicing prices’
Jane and Julian Davis, who have been forced to move from their house by windfarm noise, have now had their loss of amenity and loss in value of their home acknowledged by a Valuation Tribunal which lowered their Council Tax banding in recognition of:
‘Significant detrimental effect’
‘Nuisance real, not imagined’
‘Potential sale price affected’
See BBC TV News piece: ‘Wind farm blights farmhouse’.
By Matt Roper, the Daily Mirror, 19 April 2010.
‘A couple who quit their farmhouse thanks to the “deafening roar” of wind turbines are claiming £380,000 damages.
‘Jane and Julian Davis, 45, said they have “lost everything” since eight turbines were built 930 yards away four years ago.
‘They now pay £1,000 a month to rent a home, claiming the swooshing can hit 66 decibels - the limit is 35db - and makes it impossible to sleep. Jane, 54, said: “This is a last resort after years of being ignored. All we are asking is, please stop the noise.”
‘She said their house near Deeping St Nicholas, Lincs, has lost £150,000 in value. In a landmark case, they are suing neighbours and two firms and calling for the wind farm to go.
‘The High Court action could pave the way for other claims with one in five of 255 farms receiving noise complaints.
Jane and Julian say that they know of 11 other instances in the UK where families have fled their homes due to wind turbine noise nuisance.
The case was settled out of court shortly before noise evidence was due to be heard. Land registry records show the Davis family’s farmhouse as being bought by the wind operators shortly after the settlement.
The terms of the settlement are protected by a gagging order which prevents the Davis family from disclosing the size of the settlement.
The Telegraph, 26 July 2008.
‘Thousands of homeowners may see the value of their properties plummet after a court ruled that living near a wind farm decreases house prices.’
‘In a landmark case, Jane Davis was told she will get a discount on her council tax because her £170,000 home had been rendered worthless by a turbine 1,000 yards away.’
‘Estate agents have said no one is likely to buy the Davis's house, which was worth £170,000 before the wind farm was built.’
‘The ruling is effectively an official admission that wind farms, which are accused of spoiling countryside views and producing a deafening roar, have a negative effect on house prices.’
‘It means many other families living in the shadow of the giant turbines could see thousands wiped off the value of their homes, as the Government pushes ahead with plans to build 7,000 more wind farms over the next decade to meet ambitious green targets.’
‘Campaigners also fear ministers want to remove the legal right to complain about noise nuisance, condemning those who live near wind farms to years of blight and reducing the opportunity for them to resist expansion plans.’
(See full story in The Telegraph, 26 July 2008).
‘A FAMILY living near a part-constructed wind farm is experiencing the same problems that plagued the Davises at Deeping St Nicholas. Seven of the 13 turbines planned for Bicker Fen are up and working but neighbouring couple Steve and Lorraine Rashleigh are horrified by the noise.’
‘Mr Rashleigh, of North Drove, is upset because he was assured there would be no noise pollution. He said: “They’re not all up yet and we can hear noise like an old steam train in the distance 24 hours a day. The turbines are as close as they can be to us. We can’t have windows open.”’
(See full story in Lincs Free Press and Spalding Guardian, 12 August, 2008).
‘... 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’ [‘town’, please!] ‘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.’
‘[Chris] Tomlinson [Director of Programme Strategy at the BWEA] concluded: “This new research is yet another nail in the coffin of some of the exaggerated myths peddled by opponents of wind power.”’
(BWEA, ‘New research blows away myths on wind farms’, 28 March 2007)
Local readers will know that the failure of the Crystal Rig turbines to affect house prices in Dunbar might have had something to do with the fact that, as the ‘survey’ admits, the then existing turbines were 7.5 miles away in the Lammermuir Hills. They were not visible from the town.
The increase in house prices in Dunbar might also have had something to do with the ‘Edinburgh effect’: property in Dunbar has been especially sought after by Edinburgh commuters. You would have thought that the Edinburgh Solicitors’ Property Centre might have known that; but then, they don’t even know that Dunbar is a town!
A Dunbar resident answered the BWEA in Power Engineer Magazine:
House price wind up
I read your Editorial ‘House price wind-up?’ in April/May Power Engineer with interest.
As a resident of Dunbar for almost 20 years, I can assure you that the Crystal Rig wind farm (deep in the Lammermuir Hills) is completely hidden from view from any part of Dunbar. Indeed most Dunbar residents are completely oblivious to its existence. To link house prices in Dunbar, which has become increasingly a commuter base for Edinburgh, to Crystal Rig is therefore a rather specious argument.
However, what can be seen from parts of Dunbar, and is in fact much closer to the town, is British Energy’s Torness Nuclear Power Station - I wonder if the real message to be taken from the dramatic expansion of Dunbar is public acceptance of a nuclear site as a neighbour?
David Bell C.Eng, MIET
An addition of 5 turbines was consented in 2004, an extension of fifty two (52) 110 and 125 metre turbines [Crystal Rig II] was approved by the Scottish Government. Then the applicants added another 9 (Phase IIa).
After the completion of Phase II and Phase IIa, the developers are now applying for another nine to eighteen 125m turbines in ‘Phase III’ of the scheme.
Crystal Rig is very visible on the skyline from north Northumberland, some 35km away.
The above photo shows the densely settled nature of the original Crystal Rig site area! It also shows the ridge of hills to the east of the site which masked the original site from Dunbar and other low level settlements on the coast.
The building of sixteen 125m turbines at Aikengall, immediately to the east of Crystal Rig I, now means that turbines are all too visible from the coast. The piece above - and the ESPC ‘survey’ - both predate this latest assault on the landscape of East Lothian. The Aikengall scheme was consented against the Planning Officer’s advice on the casting vote of the Convenor of E. Lothian Planning Committee. An application to extend the scheme with a further twenty two 145m turbines at Aikebngall II/Wester Dod is currently being considered by the Scottish Government.
RenewableUK/the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) has also claimed that, “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 truth - as ever with the BWEA - is somewhat different:
This very limited study looked at two Cornish sites with very small first generation turbines, and actually found that: “Terraced houses sited within 1 mile of a wind farm were observed to be 54 per cent lower in value and semi detached houses within 1 mile of the nearest turbine were 35 per cent lower than similar houses at a distance of four miles.” Losing a third to half the value of your house because you are near an array of small wind turbines is hardly proof that property values are not affected!
Admittedly, this study found that the picture at greater distance was more confused. Much of this confusion was, as the authors admit, caused by their choice of study area.
The BWEA choose not to mention the highly qualified conclusions of this study: “Because of the limited data available the findings require a degree of caution. ... The study itself may be seen as inconclusive as there was limited linear relationship between house prices and distance. ... this is only one study, and as more wind farms are built, more property will become proximate. Therefore, a cautious approach should be adopted until a larger and more in-depth study can be undertaken.”
(Report is available as a PDF download from the RICS site).
Dent and Sims followed their somewhat sketchy original work with another survey concentrated on an ex-MOD estate at St Eval:“This study focuses on 201 transactions from the sale of terraced and semi detached homes located in St Eval Cornwall [...]”. The authors admit that, “No houses included in the analysis had a view of 3 or more turbines.” The Bears Down array of sixteen 57m turbines (nearly half the size of the ‘Moorsyde’ turbines) is between half a mile and a mile and a half from the survey area.
Interestingly, in their previous survey, the authors made a point of saying that:
‘As Peter Dent says, ‘We wanted to know why semi-detached and terraced houses close to a wind farm seemed to be less desirable’. The view of the estate agents was that proximity to a wind farm simply was not an issue. What they did say, though, was that the properties close to one of the wind farms – St Eval – were, in fact, ex-Ministry of Defence properties, and so less desirable than similar properties.’
Apparently, this does not prevent them now using data from this location as the basis of their second study.
Quoted from the resume:
Findings from an earlier UK study by Sims and Dent (2007) were inconclusive, perhaps due to the lack of available property specific data. However, their methodology did provide a sound framework for further research and has formed the basis for this study. The research presents an analysis of 201 sales transactions undertaken between 2000 and 2007 in St Eval, Cornwall using hedonic modelling and comparative sales analysis. St Eval is located within half a mile of Bears Down wind farm and approximately 2miles from the sea.
The results indicated that distance from the nearest turbine is not a significant factor in house price, whereas having a view of the countryside can significantly increase price. Whilst no causal link was established between the presence of the wind farm and house price there was some evidence to suggest that both noise and flicker from the turbine blades could blight certain property. The results also indicated that in addition to noise and flicker, the vista (the view of countryside, sea etc from the property) enjoyed by the occupier had some intrinsic value which may be affected by the presence of a wind farm and therefore future research needs to develop a methodology which will capture the relationship between these factors and price more fully. [My emphasis]
(See: Dent, Peter and Sally Sims, Oxford Brookes University. ‘Assessing the impacts of a wind farm on house prices in the United Kingdom’, 25 September 2008. Available as a PDF download from the RICS website).
Compare this with an article from The Guardian, normally predisposed to support all wind power development:
‘Bears Down, near Padstow, one of the first and largest wind farms in Cornwall, is in just the sort of location she says would appeal to a developer. There are a few very nice, expensive homes nearby in the village of Rumford, and Phoebe Lockett, who owns one of them, has led a well-organised and persistent campaign to have the turbines adjusted to reduce noise. But the only other dwellings directly affected are 14 permanent caravans on a site 500m from the nearest turbine. Lockett says that while the developers took her impeccably middle-class protests seriously, they seemed less willing to listen to the views of people who lived on the caravan site, even though they were closer to the wind farm. ’
‘Again, when I visited both Lockett's and the caravan site, I could hear none of the whooshing of which they complained, nor feel the vibrations that one mobile-home owner said had made her exchange her metal caravan for a more absorbent wooden “park home”. But their reports are so strongly put and consistent that, even allowing for an element of the neurosis that the pros tend to allege, they must be based on something. ’
‘Amanda Harry, a GP based in Plymouth, has surveyed Bears Down, and says that more than 80% of people she has questioned who live close to wind farms in Cornwall complain of noise pollution and headaches. The advocates of wind power have rubbished her sample as too small to be meaningful and her methods as unscientific. “She asks people if they live near a wind farm and whether they suffer from headaches, and assumes the two are linked,” says one critic. ’
‘It would in any case be wrong to suggest that the wider local community is united against Bears Down. It is only those in the immediate vicinity - up to about 1,000m away - who criticise it. When I sampled opinion in the village of St Eval, a former RAF base about a mile and a half from the [57m] turbines, there was virtually no opposition [my emphasis], apart from a rider who said they spooked her horses. “People here don’t mind them”, says Brenda Bridges, who runs the local post office. "It's only the people in the caravan park who are bothered." One local man, a Royal Navy climatologist - some of the housing is still owned by the armed forces - went further. "There's no noise here, and even if there was that would be acceptable in the larger scheme of things." ’
[...](Quoted from ‘Hard wind’, The Guardian, 24 May 2007)
Watertown Daily Times, 7 April, 2010
‘Sales records show that Cape Vincent has had a steeper decline in residential property sales than its neighbors and real estate professionals are starting to blame proposed wind power developments.
‘“People do not want to buy near windmills”, said Amanda J. Miller, owner of Lake Ontario Realty, Dexter, who specializes in waterfront property sales. “They avoid purchasing in towns like Cape Vincent.”
‘She presented her views and a report on property values to the Jefferson County Board of Legislators on Tuesday night.
‘In other countries that have had wind power development for a while, they have seen 40 percent to 60 percent drops in resale values, she said. Closer to home, she’s had clients pull out of deals and refuse to consider areas that are possible sites for wind turbines.
8 June, 2010
Summary: Certified appraiser Michael S. McCann submitted this testimony to the Adams County Board, Adams County Illinois in reference the impact of industrial scale wind energy development on residential property. Mr. McCann's testimony provides a detailed explanation of the impacts he has found and his recommendations to avoid harm to adjacent property when siting projects. (McCann Appraisal, LLC written testimony: PDF download, 5.8Mb).
SUMMARY OF OPINIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
1. Residential property values are adversely and measurably impacted by close proximity of industrial-scale wind energy turbine projects to the residential properties, with value losses measured up to 2-miles from the nearest turbine(s), in some instances.
2. Impacts are most pronounced within “footprint” of such projects, and many ground-zero homes have been completely unmarketable, thus depriving many homeowners of reasonable market-based liquidity or pre-existing home equity.
3. Noise and sleep disturbance issues are mostly affecting people within 2-miles of the nearest turbines and 1-mile distances are commonplace, with many variables and fluctuating range of results occurring on a household by household basis.
4. Real estate sale data typically reveals a range of 25% to approximately 40% of value loss, with some instances of total loss as measured by abandonment and demolition of homes, some bought out by wind energy developers and others exhibiting nearly complete loss of marketability.
5. Serious impact to the “use & enjoyment” of many homes is an on-going occurrence, and many people are on record as confirming they have rented other dwellings, either individual families or as a homeowner group-funded mitigation response for use on nights when noise levels are increased well above ambient background noise and render their existing homes untenable.
6. Reports often cited by industry in support of claims that there is no property value, noise or health impacts are often mischaracterized, misquoted and/or are unreliable. The two most recent reports touted by wind developers and completed in December 2009 contain executive summaries that are so thoroughly cross-contingent that they are better described as “disclaimers” of the studies rather than solid, scientifically supported conclusions. Both reports ignore or fail to study very relevant and observable issues and trends.
7. If Adams County approves a setback of 1,000 feet, 1,500 feet, or any distance less than 2-miles, these types of property use and property value impacts are likely to occur to the detriment of Adams County residences and citizens for which the nearest turbines are proposed to be located.
8. The approval of wind energy projects within close proximity to occupied homes is tantamount to an inverse condemnation, or regulatory taking of private property rights, as the noise and impacts are in some respects a physical invasion, an easement in gross over neighboring properties, and the direct impacts reduce property values and the rights of nearby neighbors.
9. A market value reduction of $6.5 million is projected for the residential property located in the footprint and within 2-miles of the pending Prairie Mills project located in east Adams County.
ELECTRICITY GENERATIONU.K. National Grid Status