UK Wind Study Draft Available

February 12, 2014

A draft of the new UK study attempting to measure the impact of wind farms on property values is available for review and comment. The study, conducted by Professor Steve Gibbons, Director of the London School of Economics, Spatial Economics Research Centre, concluded: “Wind farms reduce house prices in postcodes where the turbines are visible. This price reduction is around 5-6% for housing with a visible wind farm of average size (11 turbines) within 2km, falling to 3% within 4km, and to 1% or less by 14km which is at the limit of likely visibility.”

These conclusions are at odds with the two “mega-studies” recently conducted in the US, including the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory study (referred to as the “Hoen” study after its principal author) which is available here. The UK study points out the Hoen study used “very few transactions in the areas near the wind farms” in its analysis”—1198 sales. But compared to other studies examining the impacts of environmental disamenities on property values, 1198 sales is actually far more than are normally utilized.

I contacted Professor Gibbons. Speaking of the authors of the Hoen study, he said:

[T]hey do find negative effects from the wind farms but the effects are just imprecisely measured so they cannot really conclude anything. I’m using a dataset with the population of house sales in Britain from 2000 to the end of 2012 linked to 150 different wind turbine sites. I also focus specifically on visibility i.e. I’m looking at the effects where turbines are likely to be visible. This is important because there are some offsetting effects, with small price increases in nearby places where the turbines aren’t visible – presumably due to people switching demand from places where the turbines are visible to nearby places where they are not….Of course reactions to this type of infrastructure may be different too in the US and UK.

It will be interesting to see if a debate develops between these studies’ authors. In the meantime, both wind farm developers and nearby landowners have support for their respective positions.