tedster - 3:34 am on Sep 25, 2012 (gmt 0)
I don't know that links on the page would be a major factor here. In my view, that's clutching at PageRank circulation a bit too intensively. However, I do agree that a noindex meta might be a good way to go, given how aggressively Google works to "discover" new URLs today.
At the same time, we have had advice from Google engineers - for several years - that they don't want to index site search URLs when that leads googlebot into an infinite crawl space. I've always used robots.txt to block the crawling and never suffered any issues that I could see.
Leaving site search open to crawling usually means having googlebot throw all kinds of keywords at your search form, and usually to no good result. That said, Andy's question is pretty important, I think. Does the present situation bring you any good traffic?