But a survey published today has supported many residents' fears; that windfarms have a negative impact on house prices.
If the Government has its way, towering turbines and whirring blades could become a common and, to many, unwelcome feature of East Anglia’s skyline.
As the Department of Trade and Industry’s Renewables Obligation forces power companies to increase the proportion of green energy produced to more than 10pc by 2010-11, more attention is being focused on wind power.
But a survey published today has supported many residents’ fears; that windfarms have a negative impact on house prices.
The findings of the survey, carried out by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), show 62pc of those who responded believe such development would decrease the value of properties in residential areas.
And this impact can be felt before a single turbine is erected. The report states that prices begin to fall as soon as a planning application is lodged.
With the recently completed £75m Scroby Sands project near Yarmouth and the Ecotricity windfarm at Swaffham paving the way for other developments in the county, the news confirms the concerns of residents.
But the study could encourage companies to erect turbines on agricultural land away from residential properties.
Only 31pc of respondents suggested wind- farm development negatively influenced the value of agricultural land, while 61pc suggested there was no impact at all.
Some even felt windfarms could be a positive factor because they increased values as a result of payments to landowners for use of their land.
Peter Hornor, a chartered surveyor from Brown and Co, which covers Norwich and Norfolk, said that with the wind-power industry in its infancy, as much information as possible was needed on its impacts.
“There is certainly a perception among residents that these farms do have a negative impact and there is concern among some that they may be a blight on the landscape,” he commented.
“It does seem clear that such an impact isn’t felt in agricultural areas and I think that is something companies may take into account.”
The study states: “The negative impact of windfarms on property values appears to decline from around two years after the completion of the development.
“This may suggest that the impact lessens as windfarms become a more established part of the landscape.”
But this is not a view shared by residents’ groups.
Brian Kidd, chairman of the Campaign Against Turbines at Shipdham and Scarning (CATSS) that has been fighting windfarm plans since 2002, said: “These results just prove what we’ve been arguing all along, but having a study like this will certainly add weight to our argument.
“There are many reasons to oppose these turbines, but the house-price issue is certainly a key one. Even though the windfarm in this area is only at the planning stage we have already noticed an impact on property prices and saleability.
“There is nothing to suggest this will change over time.
“One neighbour of mine had nearly
sold their house, but when the buyer found
out about the plans they pulled out straight away.
“What we need now is for politicians to start taking notice of studies like this and actually do something about it.
“A shift towards development on agricultural land is certainly one way round the problem and it’s worth looking at.”
According to the RICS study, large detached residential properties are the most affected and the impact lessens with distance from a windfarm.
RICS chief economist Milan Khatri stressed it was too early to fully assess the impact.
“The UK’s onshore windfarm industry is young, but argument over its impact on the landscape, wider environment and the effect on property prices has been heated,” he explained.
“Our survey shows a clear majority who find that a windfarm nearby suppresses house prices. But with 40pc finding no negative impact, it is too early to say categorically that windfarms are a serious threat to homeowners.
“We will have to wait to see how the market reacts to windfarms in the longer term, but it is clear that more research will be needed in due course.”
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