By Auslan Cramb, Scottish Correspondent
01 Nov 2012
The move follows an objection from an anti–wind farm campaigner who complained about material handed out by Wind Prospect Developments Ltd at an exhibition on a proposed 12–turbine development in Midlothian, Scotland.
The leaflet, produced by the industry trade body RenewableUK, claimed that it was a “myth” that wind farms reduced the value of nearby houses.
But following the complaint from Celia Hobbs, from Penicuik, who has been fighting wind farm proposals for seven years, the ASA confirmed that Wind Prospect had provided a written assurance that it would not use the leaflet again.
She included with her complaint a newspaper article in which an estate agent said he checked for potential wind farm developments before introducing clients to new homes in the countryside.
Mrs Hobbs also quoted a ruling by the Valuation Office Agency over a wind farm at Kessingland in Suffolk, which accepted that wind turbines could reduce property values and as a result moved some homes into a lower council tax band.
Mrs Hobbs, of the Penicuik Environment Protection Association, told The Daily Telegraph: “It is plain common sense that if you could choose between two properties, one in open countryside and one next to a motorway or railway line or airport or a whirling 100 metre high machine you would choose the one in open countryside.
“I am delighted with this result from the ASA after years of trying to wake people up to the misrepresentations of the renewables industry.”
The leaflet she complained about states that “UK studies show no clear relationship between the proximity of wind farms and property prices”, and quotes a Scottish Government study claiming that “those living nearest to operating wind farms are their strongest advocates”.
Mrs Hobbs, who ran a bed and breakfast business for many years in Penicuik, said such claims were partly based on a 2007 study on the Crystal Rig wind farm in the Scottish Borders, which was carried out in the town of Dunbar, six miles from the wind farm, and a time when turbines could not be seen from the town.
A spokesman for RenewableUK said there was no conclusive evidence to show that “wind farms or wind turbines had any long–term detrimental effect on house prices”. He added that many communities benefited from wind farms through large sums of money going into the “community pot”.