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United Kingdom

United Kingdom

No solid evidence of property blight

House prices can be hit by siting applications for wind farms, but the impact lessens after time, particularly once the plant is operational. This is the finding of a survey of the UK housing market by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS).

Sixty per cent of the chartered surveyors with experience of transactions near to wind farms who responded to the survey say they negatively affect house prices, with the biggest impact apparently around the time of the planning application. The survey finds that prices begin to recover when the wind farm has been up and running for two years. Visual impact is cited as the biggest cause for concern; next comes fear of "blight" as homeowners in the UK's liquid property market fear their ability to sell.

"Our survey shows a clear majority who find that a wind farm nearby suppresses house prices," says RICS Milan Khatri. "But with 40% finding no negative impact, it is too early to say categorically that wind farms are a serious threat to homeowners."

A study commissioned by the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) agrees with the RICS findings. Research done in summer 2004 by chartered surveyors Frank Knight shows no categorical evidence linking wind farms to house prices, says BWEA. "The research shows that fear is the real issue," says BWEA's Chris Tomlinson. "As with other forms of development, the RICS study makes clear that communities become used to them following construction," he says. "The danger about this debate is that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, with the perception that wind farms will negatively impact on house prices resulting in that very effect."

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