LONDON – When a country improves its infrastructure – things such as roads, telecommunication networks, and ports – in theory, this should boost economic growth and improve the quality of life, so long as the money isn’t wasted on political vanity projects like Alaska’s infamous “bridge to nowhere.”
So a new railway station or motorway junction will usually boost the surrounding area because it attracts businesses, jobs, new residents, and tourists. But some types of infrastructure – say, a new power station – can also have a damaging impact upon the neighborhood.
Last week the Valuation Office Agency – the organization responsible for council tax assessments – said that wind farms are another type of infrastructure that comes with a big negative after it ruled that giant wind turbines depress house prices in their vicinity.
Good for the country; bad for the locality
Britain nowadays has become a nation of “NIMBYs,” because most people will only support a new development if it is “not in my backyard.” But in many cases, this is a perfectly sensible reaction. After all, who would want to live next door to a toxic waste incinerator?
“NIMBYism” is particularly common where a proposed development should produce benefits that are widely distributed throughout Britain but also inflicts a substantial detriment upon the local community. Wind farms are the latest example.
25% off thanks to wind turbines
Wind turbines generate power for the country (at least when the wind is blowing), but they’ve taken a lot of flak because they decimate local birdlife, and the energy they produce is very expensive. You can now add house prices to this list of negatives, as the Valuation Office Agency recently moved several houses into lower council tax bands purely on the grounds that they were situated close to wind farms. The value of one house fell by 25%.
This is despite many years of official statements that wind turbines do not affect house prices. The same thing used to be said about National Grid’s (LSE: NG.L ) high-voltage overhead power lines, but property prices fall as you come close to them, and if there is any uncertainty about the route for a new power line, people stop buying houses there.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding