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New research shows wind farms do not affect house prices

29 March 2014

A new study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) and RenewableUK has found that the presence of wind farms has no significant effect on average local property prices within 5km of the site.

Cebr and RenewableUK examined data covering more than 82,000 property transactions, all within a 5 kilometre radius of 7 wind farms throughout England and Wales, typically covering areas of 79 square kilometres per site.

Using Land Registry data from 1995 to 2013, the report is one of the first in-depth investigations in the UK into whether house prices were affected at every key stage of the development – from before plans to build a wind farm were announced, throughout the construction process, into the years after construction was completed.

The study found that local house prices in areas where there are wind farms continued to perform as would have been expected in the absence of wind farms. Prices tracked the county average, with no evidence of a downturn which could be attributed to the presence or absence of the wind farm. Other factors which affect the whole county such as local employment opportunities, the state of the housing market overall and the nationwide economic cycle of growth and recession determined how house prices performed.

This remains true not only when looking at the raw house price data, but also when allowing for the “boom and bust” in house prices that the UK has experienced before and after the recession. The first part of the study looks at the raw data, while the second part is an econometric analysis which filters out both the rise and fall in prices associated with the economic cycle and county-level trends to establish whether the remaining trends can be attributed to the presence of a wind farm. There was no negative effect detected following either the planning, construction or the completion phase.

RenewableUK’s Chief Executive Maria McCaffery said: “This is the first deep dive into real data on this issue. At last we have a detailed independent analysis into what actually happens to property prices before, during and after wind farms are constructed, over a period of nearly twenty years.

“Having analysed more than 82,000 property transactions the report concluded that local house prices continue to perform just as they would have done whether or not the wind farm had been built, remaining in step with what’s happening to average house prices in the county as a whole.

“This remains true at every stage of the process – when plans to construct a wind farm are announced, when construction begins, when the wind farm goes operational and after it has been installed. This shows that claims that wind farms might have a negative effect on house prices are unfounded.

“In fact, wind farms generate significant economic benefits for local communities, by creating local jobs and providing local contracts in rural areas where they’re needed most. In addition to generating clean and sustainable energy they also provide tens of thousands of pounds every year in community funds to improve local infrastructure and much-needed community facilities which help to maintain local property prices”.

(ends)

Notes:

1. More details on the Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) can be found here: http://www.cebr.com/

2. This report is a piece of joint research between RenewableUK and Cebr. RenewableUK, working in collaboration with their membership, sourced the data for the study and produced the initial analysis. Cebr provided the econometric analysis, provided interpretation of the data and validated the methodology used throughout the rest of the report.

3. Wind farms covering 6 regions of England – North East, North West, Yorkshire & Humber, East Midlands, South East and South West, as well as a site in Wales, were included to provide a wide geographical range of case studies.

4. Data was sourced for areas within 1km, 2km and 5km distance from each site. Over a 19 year period, there were on average just 68 transactions (4 per year) taking place within 1km and 723 transactions (38 per year) within 2km. This very low volume of transactions present at all sites meant it was not possible to create a reliable house price series for the period for the 1km and 2km areas. It was therefore only possible to use data for the wider 5km area in the analysis.

5. Read the full report here: http://www.renewableuk.com/en/publications/index.cfm 

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RenewableUK is the UK’s leading renewable energy trade association, specialising in onshore wind, offshore wind and wave & tidal energy. Formed in 1978, we have an established, large corporate membership ranging from small independent companies, to large international corporations and manufacturers. Acting as a central point of information and a united, representative voice for our membership, we conduct research; find solutions; organise events, facilitate business development, and promote wind and marine renewables to government, industry, the media and the public. Our vision is for renewable energy to play a leading role in powering the UK.