Rural house price study will aid our battle say wind farm critics

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CAMPAIGNERS in an area “swamped” by wind farms hope a report into whether they hit rural house prices will help fight off future proposals to build turbines.

Owen Paterson, the Environment Secretary, has commissioned consultants to examine whether renewable technologies – including wind turbines – lower house prices in the countryside.

It was reported earlier this week that the report was being blocked by officials at the Department of Climate and Energy Change, run by the Liberal Democrat Ed Davey.

This was firmly denied in a letter from Energy Secretary Mr Davey yesterday, who said the study would “look at maximising the benefits and minimising the
negative impacts of all technologies, including shale gas and nuclear”.

However in East Yorkshire, home to a large number of turbines, campaigners are convinced property blight is a real issue.

Residents in Spaldington, with a population of 130, spent two-and-a-half years and nearly £80,000 fighting two wind farm applications, one of which got the go-ahead on appeal.

Since then RWE npower renewables has submitted plans for six turbines near Welham Bridge, Holme upon Spalding Moor, just over a mile from where two 125m high turbines are proposed, and two miles from Spaldington Airfield where five 126m high turbines got approval.

The plans were unanimously refused by East Riding councillors and locals are now waiting to see whether they appeal.

Alison Taylor, who will be less than a mile from the five-turbine farm, said: “This report needs to come to light.

“I think it is extremely important. This is happening across the UK and thousands of people are affected.

“There are a number of properties for sale in the village and they are not selling.

“I presume people aren’t interested, if there are wind farms nearby. I wouldn’t be.

“Up till now planning authorities are not allowed to use house prices as a planning reason for refusing an application.

“If this is established as fact then surely it is something they can use. The companies who are putting in these applications don’t give a jot about the people living there. All they care is about the subsidies.”

Howard Clarke, director of estate agents Quick & Clarke, said: “My honest answer is that (wind turbines) don’t help.

“It’s like a number of years ago there were concerns of power lines influencing residential property and I feel wind turbines have a similar effect. It tends to put people off altogether, or they are still happy to buy if the price is reasonably attractive.

“That still begs the question as to whether there is a price difference to what that house would have been worth if there had been no wind farm.”

MEP Godfrey Bloom said the Tories and Lib Dems had sunk so much political capital into “useless” wind turbines, they were unable to get out without admitting “they’d got it wrong – with all that political egg on their faces”.

He said Germany had woken up to the “disaster” and had started building conventional power stations, adding: “We all know they don’t work and we have known that for years.

“We know in 2015 the lights will go out – and where will Ed Davey be then?”

The report is a joint project between Mr Paterson’s Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Department for Energy and Climate Change.

A Government spokeswoman said: “We need to ensure that
energy is generated in a way that is sustainable and understand the effects that different technologies have on the environment and
on communities across the country.

“DECC and Defra are working together on this report, which is not yet complete, to ensure that it meets the usual standards and quality assurances that you would expect from any Government publication.

“A diverse energy mix is the best way to meet our energy security requirements, our climate change commitments and keep energy bills affordable.”