Westcountry homes close to wind farms have lost up to a third of their value, an MP has claimed as the Government considers paying compensation if developments cause a property price plunge.
Geoffrey Cox, Conservative MP for West Devon and Torridge, said constituents have been told by estate agents their homes are worth “significantly less” thanks to giant turbines, and that it is an “injustice” they lose out while developers and land owners potentially pocket millions.
This year, Mr Cox issued a blanket objection to all new commercial wind farms after proposals for scores of turbines have pushed parts of rural areas to “tipping point”.
Meanwhile, Planning Minister Nick Boles has proposed direct compensation for lost property value thanks to developments such as turbines, but also nuclear power stations, rail links and factories.
The minister is eyeing a pilot scheme in the coming months, and it could be based on the Dutch model that pays out an average of around £8,000 to householders that have suffered “detriment”.
Mr Cox said he welcomed the proposal, which is likely to curry favour across rural Cornwall, Devon and Somerset, where the growing number of wind farms are seen as a blight by residents.
The MP said: “An increasing number of people are coming to me with clear evidence that the value of their home is significantly less than what it otherwise would be were the wind farm not there.
“I’m seeing a minimum 10% to 15% reduction. Some are seeing a loss of one-third of the value. How can that be fair?
“How can it be right that landowners and developers are making millions of pounds, while the ordinary household is losing the value of what is their pension, or nest egg in old age.” Of the minister’s proposal, he said: “I would completely support households having to be paid compensation for the depreciation of their house value as a result of wind turbines.
“It is simple nonsense for the pro-wind lobby to say they have no effect on house prices.”
But he warned: “The devil will be in the detail. How would you differentiate between those that are entitled and those that are not?”
The compensation package was revealed quietly in December’s autumn statement, but was detailed by Mr Boles when her appeared before the Local Government Select Committee of MPs.
He said the proposal was a “radical departure” from Britain’s current planning rules, but would help speed up major infrastructure that will boost growth, and would bring “individual benefits” for local residents from new development.
His idea goes beyond existing schemes to compensate homeowners for roads and rail links which affect the property by creating noise and traffic.
Mr Boles said: “I think that everybody recognises that countries have to do difficult things – build roads, build railway lines, build nuclear power stations and other kinds of power sources.
“It is better for everyone that the amount of money is banged up in the transaction process – making the decision, let alone building the thing, as little as possible and relatively speedy. With certain projects there has been a principle established of some kind of a benefit being paid to very local communities.”
He added: “One of the things we are keen to pilot is whether people who have properties very close to a substantial development might benefit from some form of compensation for the loss of property value, something that does happen in some other countries, the Netherlands have innovated with it.”
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