The proposals are part of the National Grid’s attempt to dramatically increase the use of renewable energies by 2030. Its biggest problem, though, is that existing power lines do not have the capacity. The have launched a proposal which would see cables run underground through the picturesque Dedham Vale area on the Essex/Suffolk Border. It would also see the installation of electricity pylons across the route from Norfolk through Suffolk and Essex.
East Anglia Green, which has been running public consultation on the proposals, says the proposals are in line with the government’s ambition to connect 40GW of offshore wind energy to power every home in the country by 2030.
Unsurprisingly, the proposals have met with opposition from residents and local councils. Conveyancing solicitors in Essex have also been lending their voice to the opposition. They warn that past studies show that the installation of electricity pylons have the potential to reduce prices by up to a third.
A 2005 study did find that living close to electricity pylons could affect resale value by up to 38%. Homes within 300m of power lines tend to sell at around a third of the value of similar homes in the same locality.
However, the number is far from uniform. Other studies put the drop at between 2% and 9% of a property’s value. Another study from 2016 suggested they had no effect. It stated: “perception of potential decreases in sales value as a result of high-voltage overhead lines close to property far outweighs the reality borne out in actual sales data.”
So yes, those conveyancing solicitors are right to point out historical data. However, they overlook other studies which don’t quite tell the same story. The truth is the impact of power lines on house prices can vary depending on all sorts of issues including their actual impact on the landscape and the state of the market.
In an environment in which supply is plentiful and prices are fragile, buyers may be wary about buying close to power lines. However, that’s not the market we’re in. House prices in 2021 rose by around 10% and have continued to rise in 2022.
Limited supply and high demand mean that people are continuing to flood into the market. As ugly as they are, electricity pylons become much less of a deterrent when available houses are in such short supply.