Report claims fracking will hit prices of homes

Anti-fracking campaigners have warned that house prices will be hit by fracking in their area, following a report by Greenpeace.

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 5th May 2015, 10:00 pm
Villagers from Roseacre and  Barbra Richardson who says fracking will hit house prices
Villagers from Roseacre and Barbra Richardson who says fracking will hit house prices

The survey, which the eco-organisation said was carried out with estate agents near areas where fracking is proposed, said the extraction of natural gas was likely to wipe tens of thousands of pounds off the values of nearby properties.

The findings come from a survey of 60 estate agents conducted by marketing research agency Redshift.

Two thirds (67 per cent) of the estate agents interviewed say fracking operations could bring down house prices.

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Barbra Richardson

A majority of them estimate the loss in value to be more than 8-11 per cent, with two agents putting it as high as 41-70 per cent.

But the report has been blasted by industry critics and energy firm Cuadrilla, which has applied for planning permission to frack at Roseacre and Little Plumpton on the Fylde, which said Redshift was not a member of the UK Polling Council.

They questioned why Greenpeace used Redshift and not an accredited polling agency.

Greenpeace pointed to a heavily redacted Government report believed to contain evidence of the shale industry’s impact on the housing market.

Greenpeace’s Louise Hutchins said: “Why would people believe their (ministers’) promise that shale extraction won’t hit house prices when estate agents disagree and the Government is still refusing to publish key evidence?” James Nisbet, who lives a few hundred metres from one of the Lancashire sites where energy firm Cuadrilla is seeking to frack, said a few potential buyers have pulled out of purchasing his £375,000 house after learning about the looming energy development.

“We have had six viewings so far, all with very positive feedback, but no one wants to commit to buying with the fracking shadow hanging over us,” he said.

“And we’re not alone. I’ve been hearing the same story from quite a few people in the area.

“We have lived here for 15 years.

“I really like this place and I don’t want to move, but I also don’t particularly wish to stick around to see what fracking will do to this community.”

Paula Higgins, chief executive of advice organisation the HomeOwners Alliance, said: “It’s worrying that homeowners who happen to live in fracking zones are being kept in the dark on how fracking will affect them.

“Some are already starting to bear the brunt through aborted sales and their homes being devalued.”

But a Cuadrilla spokesman, said: “The Greenpeace study is not backed up by the available evidence.

“A recent analysis conducted by JLL, one of the UK’s largest estate agents, found that house prices actually performed better in areas around actual drilling operations in the North West of England (including sites that have involved hydraulic fracturing) than the surrounding areas.

“Oil and gas has been 
extracted onshore in the UK for over 100 years there has been no evidence to suggest any negative house price implications.

“Greenpeace are desperately attempting to promote fear into local communities when there isn’t the evidence to back it up. Indeed, the Greenpeace survey indicates that 77 per cent of those surveyed said that sellers have not indicated a concern.”

Last month, The Gazette revealed how a report, commissioned by the pro-fracking North West Energy Task Force and undertaken by JLL, looked at thousands of transactions close to two onshore gas sites – at Preese Hall and Elswick, where fracking is no longer taking place – and compared them to the rest of Lancashire.

The research claimed house prices in both areas had fared better than the rest of Lancashire.

However, Barbara Richardson of the Roseacre Awareness Group said: “This is what we have been saying all along and it is not the result of scaremongering as the Government and the energy companies try to make out.

“Who in their right mind would want to buy a house in the countryside where there is 24/7 drilling, even worse fracking and flaring, light and air pollution, not to mention all the extra HGVs on our country lanes?

“We did not choose to live here for this. The operators are frightened to admit it because they fear having to pay out compensation to homeowners who could lose everything.

“This why they say it is temporary when it is nothing of the sort. We could face 10-20 years of adverse impacts. It makes people here so angry.

“Many have worked hard all their lives, myself included, to afford to live the dream of a quiet retirement in an idyllic part of countryside; not to be subjected to a full blown gas industry literally on our doorstep.”