Guest essay by Eric Worrall
A farmer who alleges wind turbines next door have caused a drop in adjacent property values just had his detailed record of land sales rejected by an Australian court, after the judged ruled the evidence is not an expert opinion.
Property value evidence thrown out in Bald Hills Wind Farm court battle
Evidence provided by a farmer claiming his property values dropped after a wind farm was built nearby cannot be used in a Victorian court case.
- Evidence to show a property’s value dropped because of the wind farm is thrown out
- Noel Uren is claiming $200,000 and other damages in a case before the Supreme Court
- The civil trial is also presented with 120 pages of a plaintiff’s handwritten evidence
The revelation came on the sixth day of a potential landmark case that saw more than 100 pages of handwritten notes about wind farm noise produced as new evidence.
Noel Uren and John Zakula are seeking damages from the Bald Hills Wind Farm near Tarwin Lower in the state’s south-east, claiming the wind turbine noise is a nuisance.
Mr Uren gave evidence this week in the Supreme Court civil trial about four properties he and his brother owned that bordered the wind farm.
The blocks were sold in 2015 and 2016 for a total of $3.53 million.
Mr Uren stayed living on one property as a tenant until March 2018.
He claims his total property value dropped by about $200,000 due to the wind farm being built nearby in 2015.
He is seeking that amount in damages along with other damages because of the excessive noise from the turbines.
Mr Uren’s evidence to substantiate the drop in farm value was from the sale of nearby properties.
However on Tuesday, Justice Melinda Richards ruled this evidence was inadmissible because he relied on the sale of nearby land rather than the written evidence of an expert.
“The value of land and the effect of the wind farm is a matter of expert opinion; it’s not a matter where the court can piece together this on its own,” Justice Richards said.
Welcome to the brave new world. Evidence of an abrupt drop in property values due to wind turbine noise is not admissible, unless accompanied by an expert opinion.