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Sellindge wind farm advert’s claims ‘misleading’

The firm behind the controversial wind farm proposed for Sellindge has been ordered to stop running advertisements suggesting house prices would not be affected by the development.

The Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that claims made by Ecotricty in newsletters were misleading as they was no “conclusive or definitive” position as to the effects on property prices.

As a result, the company has been banned from using the claim in its present form.

Protester Leslie Barratt, a member of the Sellindge Residents’ Association, had written to the ASA as an individual in August last year.

He said: “It makes you wonder what else Ecotricity is not being quite truthful about. From the very beginning, they have maintained the proposed wind farms would have no effect on house prices, and advertised this in newsletters and on displays.

“In light of this ruling, I think they should hold the exhibitions again so the general public is given all the correct information.”

The advertisements used by Ecotricity had quoted a 2007 study carried out by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors which said there was no link between wind farms and a fall in house prices.

But the ASA’s report states: “We noted the study was five years old and no longer appeared on the RICS website.

“The site contained a guide on wind farms, dated March 6, 2012, which stated, ‘Can wind farms affect property prices? There is no definitive answer to this question’, and cited evidence both for and against.

“We therefore considered the current position is there is no conclusive or definitive position as to the effect of wind farms on property prices.

“We concluded that the claim had not been substantiated and was misleading.”

A spokesman for Ecotricity said the firm was planning to appeal against the ASA decision.

He said: “Contrary to the complaint, we did indeed quote the most recent report, by the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors, a report stating ‘apparent changes in house value disappear when examined more closely and objections raised are often found to be less about genuine local concerns and more about wider ideological issues’.

“This was backed up within the report by estate agents, who said proximity to wind farms was ‘simply not an issue’.

“We are disappointed the ASA didn’t take this opportunity to confirm the RICS report remains the current authority on the issue of house price impact and we will be appealing on that basis.

“The ASA’s wider issue is really just a question of a missing word – we said the 2007 RICS report found no evidence of long-term impacts on house prices, while the ASA believe we should have said no “conclusive” evidence.

” It’s a small point and we are happy to comply with the ruling – but the bottom line is, there is still no proof house prices are at all impacted by proximity to wind turbines, and the most recent and authoritative UK research finds no evidence of a problem.”