Ed Davey, the Energy Secretary, was warned that a report used by his department to support claims that wind farms do not lower house prices was “inconclusive”, The Daily Telegraph can disclose.
The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) earlier this year wrote to Mr Davey urging him to use “caution” when referencing a 2007 research report on wind farms.
The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) had claimed that the RICS investigation “found that house price fluctuations were more likely to be caused by factors other than wind farms”.
However, RICS wrote to Mr Davey telling him to ensure that the research was “taken in context”.
The letter warned that the “report clearly spells out that this is research in a specific geographical area at a particular point in time and is not therefore representative of the wider residential property market.”
The energy department used the report despite RICS originally concluding that “the study itself may be seen as inconclusive”.
It comes amid a growing Coalition row over a new study commissioned by Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, on the impact of renewable energy projects on the countryside.
The Telegraph yesterday disclosed that Mr Paterson has asked a consultancy firm to investigate whether energy technologies – including wind turbines – lower house prices in the countryside.
Coalition sources allege that the report is being blocked by DECC amid fears that it will conclude that turbines harm property prices and the rural economy.
Mr Davey has strenuously denied that his department is trying to suppress the report.
In its letter to Mr Davey, RICS told him that the 2007 “research has often been quoted by wind farm developers, opponents, government departments, regulators and third party actors.”
It was also sent to Ofgem, the energy watchdog.
A spokesman at the energy department said that RICS wrote to them to say that they view the report to be “out of date”.
“DECC recognises that there is scope for new up-to-date research on the impact the energy infrastructure has on house prices,” the spokesman said.
Chris Heaton-Harris, the Conservative MP for Daventry, said: “There is growing concern over the level of property blight that wind turbines cause.
“These are the experts in the industry and they should be listened to.”
David Cameron this month said that people should not “expect to see a lot more wind power onshore in the UK”, adding that there is now a “limited potential for onshore wind”.
|Wind Watch relies entirely
on User Funding