Wind farms DO hit house prices: Government agency finally admits that thousands can be wiped off value of homes
Wind farms can wipe tens of thousands of pounds off the value of homes, a government agency has admitted for the first time.
The Valuation Office Agency has been forced to re-band homes into lower council tax categories, confirming what most residents who live near the giant turbines already know: they are detrimental to property prices.
The move will make it harder for the wind farm industry to dismiss public concerns over the impact of their turbines.
At least five homeowners have seen their properties officially downgraded by the VOA because of their proximity to windfarms.
But only cases that go to appeal are made public by the agency, suggesting many more applications have been received for council tax discounts.
In one case, a couple saw the value of their home near the Fullabrook wind farm site near Braunton, Devon, fall from £400,000 to £300,000 when they asked estate agents to value it.
The home is 650 yards from three of the turbines and the couple feared that the noise and visual dominance of the turbines would not only de-value their home, but make it impossible to sell.
The VOA agreed to put the home from council tax F to band E, saving the couple £400 a year in council tax.
Families living in the seaside Suffolk village of Kessingland have also applied to be put into a lower council tax band as many of their homes are near 400ft turbines.
When one resident, Sue Price, put her home up for sale last year for £460,000, she found a buyer. But they pulled out when local papers reported that the wind farms were about to be erected and estate agents told her to drop her price, she told the Sunday Times.
‘We went down to £360,000 and still could not sell so now we have taken it off the market,’ she said.
Waveney Council which covers the area has admitted that the constant swooshing noise does constitute a ‘statutory nuisance’, and is working on a technical solution with the wind farm operators, Triodos Renewables.
Recent council-tax rebandings by the Valulation Office are the first admission by an arms-length government body that house prices can be dented by wind farms.
This is despite other studies pointing to their detrimental effects, including the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors who pointed out in a 2007 report that homes within one mile of wind farms would lose value.
One in five prospective buyers rate peace and quiet as their number one priority when looking at a house, according to an Alliance and Leicester survey.
Val Weedon, the honorary president of the UK Noise Association, said wind farms would have an impact on people’s quality of life and therefore house prices.
She said: ‘These re-valuations will set a precedent which the wind farm industry does not want. Wind farm noise is like road and airport noise, it has an impact on property prices.’
‘Noise is also associated with headaches and nausea as it is a form of stress, so it can also have a detrimental effect on your health.’
It was revealed last week that every home in Britain will pay £88 to build a vast network of pylons in a £22billion project to link wind farms to the national grid.
Bills will start to rise next year under the controversial plans revealed by industry regulator Ofgem.
An average of £11 will be added annually for eight years, making £88 in total on top of any other increases.
The industry was recently dealt a blow by Chancellor George Osborne, who demanded huge cuts in government aid for wind farms.
The Chancellor told the Treasury to draw up plans for a reduction of 25 per cent in subsidies for onshore wind farms.
A VOA spokesman said: ‘The Valuation Office Agency (VOA) is responsible for keeping council tax bands up to date in England and Wales. We do not record the number of occasions where a band challenge is made by a taxpayer due to the proximity of a wind turbine/farm.
‘If a taxpayer believes that the value of their home has been reduced by a substantial physical change to their locality, then they may be entitled to make a proposal to alter their band.
‘The proposal will be considered by the VOA, which may or may not result in a band change. If the taxpayer disagrees with the decision of the VOA, there is a right of appeal to an independent Valuation Tribunal.’
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