Wind turbines can seem like the perfect renewable energy source for the UK’s blustery landscape. But what happens to the value of nearby homes?

Wind farms are big business. The first onshore commercial wind farm was constructed in Cornwall in 1991 and, since then, the technology has grown to become the UK’s largest renewable energy source.

A modern commercial turbine can generate as much as 6.5 million units of electricity a year, according to trade body, RenewableUK. If you like tea, that’s enough to make 230m cups.

But do wind farms have a negative impact on property values in the here-and-now? While there is no definitive answer to this question, we’ve laid out the most typical arguments for yes and no.

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YES!

Although wind turbines should be at least 300 meters from a residential property, at 500 metres, decibel levels are still at around 40. While that’s only equivalent to the sound created by a modern refrigerator, it’s constant which could deter buyers and reduce values.

The same goes for the look of wind farms. It’s a matter of taste of course but some buyers could find them ugly, particularly in rural landscapes.

A 2014 report from the London School of Economics (LSE) directly found that wind farms within a 2km radius can cause a property’s value to fall as much as 12%. The exact percentage hinged on the size of the wind farm and whether or not the turbines were visible.

"A modern commercial turbine can generate as much as 6.5 million units of electricity a year. If you like tea, that’s enough to make 230m cups..."

A separate study conducted by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) back in 2004 found that 60% of property surveyors believed that visible wind farms decreased values. And more than two-thirds (67%) believed that this drop in value started as soon as the planning application had been submitted.

Some residents within close proximity of wind farms have also won appeals to have their council tax payments reduced, due to the falling value of their property (as recognised by the Valuation Office Agency).

The Sunday Times recently reported a case of a couple with a home positioned 650 yards from the Fullabrook wind farm in Devon. They were able to move their property to council tax band E from F, saving £400 a year. The decision was granted on the basis their property fell in estimated value from £400,000 to £300,000.

Did you know? Currently wind farm operators are under no legal obligation to compensate homeowners for any loss of value. They pay rent on the land they are using, and often make charitable contributions to the community.

NO!

Wind farms provide jobs and can contribute to local economies, which in turn, can support house prices.

While power generated by wind farms is supplied to the national grid – rather than direct to your nearby home – even many critics admit they are a tangible part of the solution for sustainable energy.  

In 2014, for example, onshore UK windfarms generated 17 terawatt-hours of electricity, which would serve to power 4 million homes. By 2020 wind farms could supply over 10% of the UK’s energy needs.

A separate report conducted in 2014 by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) also found that house prices are not influenced by their proximity to wind farms.

The CEBR independently analysed data from 82,000 property transactions over the past two decades, and found that the wind turbines did not have a negative impact on property prices located within a 5km radius of these developments.

Did you know? If a wind farm has been proposed near your home and you’re unhappy about it, you can submit an objection to your local council (and encourage your friends, neighbours, and family members to all do the same.)

For maximum impact, objection letters should use logical arguments and professional language. You can usually find letter templates an on your local authority’s website.

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