Anti-windfarm activists are claiming a victory after homes near turbines had their council tax bills cut.
Campaigners in Cumbria are viewing the Government decision as a step towards an admission that wind turbines do affect properties and their value.
One group, Friends of Rural Cumbria’s Environment (Force), says it knows of people who have had turbines erected near their homes and who have been told to expect the value of their property to drop.
Georgina Perkins, of Shap, is part of that campaign. She said: “Lowering council tax brackets for houses affected by wind farms is a step that blatantly reflects the facts: homes can be ruined by wind turbines.
“Since 2006 we have faced the prospect of two wind farms within one kilometre of our home near Shap.
“We were advised it would reduce the value of our home by at least 30 per cent.
“However, in reality we will probably not be able to sell it.”
Ms Perkins welcomed the re-branding of council tax bands by the Valuation Agency. How many homes it affects in Cumbria is unclear.
But with the county having taken on a number of single and multi-turbines in recent years, there is the potential for a number of changes to be made.
Ms Perkins added: “It is only right that it should be reflected in council tax banding. More importantly this decision provides official backing for something those opposed to windfarms have known for years: wind turbines should be miles from people’s homes.”
Across the country five homeowners have seen their properties officially downgraded by the VOA because of their proximity to wind turbines.
However, only cases that go to appeal are made public, suggesting there could be applications from Cumbrian homeowners to receive council tax discounts.
A VOA spokesman said: “The Valuation Office Agency 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 change is made by a tax payer because of the proximity of a wind turbine or farm.
“If a taxpayer believes 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.”
Ms Perkins added that people are not totally aware of the devastation that living next to wind turbines can cause.
She said: “Most people with no direct experience of wind energy instinctively think wind energy is a ‘good thing’ until they peel back the untruths. Sadly most people do not have the time or inclination to discover the truth until it is too late.”
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