An environmental pressure group has revealed that prospective house-buyers are consulting its website to find out if wind turbines or solar farms are planned for their chosen area before they go ahead and make a purchase.
According to the chairman of the Devon branch of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural England (CPRE): “If they find a wind turbine or solar farm development is being planned they are backing out…”
Penny Mills revealed this information to her organisation’s annual general meeting in Hatherleigh recently, saying she had received information requests from half a dozen potential house buyers in the past fortnight.
Mrs Mills later said she had learned house prices near large wind turbine developments were being reduced by as much as a half in Devon.
“Recently there have been reports published by the LSE (London School of Economics) etc concluding that house values within close proximity of a wind farm are reduced by up to 11% – however, here on the ground in Devon when houses are near a single wind turbine, estate agents are recommending huge discounts of between 40 and 50% in some cases – if they’re saleable at all,” said Mrs Mills.
She showed the WMN an email that had arrived in her in-try last week in which a correspondent from Oxford wrote: “Hi Penny – we’ve decided, with this info, that we will not be buying this property. It’s such a shame that this beautiful location will be soured with such ugly constructions.”
Devon’s CPRE chairman declared: “The greed of the few – by imposing these industrial renewable energy eyesores on all of us – divides communities and causes a great deal of distress.”
She added that the Westcountry’s tourism industry was also being hit by the increasing rash of wind turbines and solar farms that were cropping up across the region.
“Tourism is the lifeblood of the South West and we endanger it at our peril,” Mrs Mills told the WMN. “The respected conservation group in Scotland, The John Muir Trust, has undertaken a tourism survey and have concluded that… ‘Up to 17.5m adults across Britain may think twice before visiting areas where the landscape is blighted by turbines’.
“That represents a serious long term threat to those areas whose economic lifeblood is tourism,” said Mrs Mills.
“We are seeing more and more traditional holidaymakers now writing to local planning authorities on these industrial wind turbine applications saying that they will not return to an area for their traditional family holidays because they do not want the countryside destroyed like this – it is not the place they want to visit.
“We chose to have our meeting in Hatherleigh this year because the bombardment of west Devon continues,” said Mrs Mills. “Hatherleigh itself is now facing (proposals for) two 77 metre high wind turbines.”
A map on the wall at Hatherleigh community centre hosting the CPRE AGM showed seven large scale wind farms have either been approved or are already in operation in North West Devon – a further four are at planning stage awaiting a decision. In terms of single wind turbines this means 91 have been approved or are up – a further 24 could soon be erected.
CPRE members were also told that planning appeals were outstanding for another 22 single wind turbines and that dozens more wind farms were at the scoping or screening stage. The organisation is also anxious about solar farms being built across the region. Devon has 3,000 acres of agricultural land which are either already playing host to solar farms, or that have approval for such developments, or are awaiting planning decision.
“Wind turbines and large solar farms are ruining our beautiful countryside and unspoilt landscape – the two things which make the South West unique,” said Mrs Mills. “Our local economy could now be affected from the consequential impact on tourism, as well as the decimating of house values.”
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