In a significant victory for the UK wind sector over anti-wind propagandists, the UK Advertising Standards Authority have banned a leaflet stating that a 5.4MW wind farm planned for Wiltshire would depress house prices. The campaigners from ‘Stop Grange Farm Wind Farm’ have become the latest in a number of UK anti-wind groups to fall foul of the ASA.
The group had distributed a leaflet claiming that values of homes in the area of West Ashton near Trowbridge would fall if a three-turbine project was allowed to proceed. However, the owner of the land upon which the planned wind farm is to be built claimed that the leaflet’s content was misleading and could not be substantiated. She also stated that the leaflet exaggerated the scale of the turbines and the distance between them and nearby houses. Her complaints were vindicated when, in a potentially significant ruling for other anti-wind farm campaigns, the ASA decided that it was indeed misleading to state that house prices will fall when the wind farm is built and that it is “self evident” that property prices would be affected. In their ruling on the matter, the ASA noted that current guidance from the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) gives no definitive answer on whether or not wind farms affect property prices.
The watchdog also dismissed apparent evidence provided by campaigners to justify their claims, particularly comments from a local estate agent which suggested that only one potential buyer had walked away from a sale after learning about the proposed wind farm.
“We considered that the claim "house prices will fall" was a strong and absolute claim and we expected to see robust documentary evidence to show that property prices in the local area would be reduced as a direct result of the wind farm development” said the ASA ruling. The watchdog also disagreed with the claim that the project would be sited “close to local homes” and that more turbines would follow.