Decarbonising in Wales

“Somehow society is going to have to find a way (in a very short time) to encourage people to produce food and offer land-based enterprises locally in a sustainable way, and also to facilitate the many idealistic young people who do not see a future in the current destructive economic model and wish to provide their own housing and live off the land.”

.

The Welsh government has been pioneering in efforts to reduce impacts on the environment – which was updated earlier this year:

One planet development: practice guidance | GOV.WALES

.

photo:  Smallholding & Countryside Festival… © Jaggery :: Geograph Britain and Ireland

.

But they have been active for almost a decade – with this report from August 2018:

Fighting climate change is much more than a day job for Chris Vernon and Erica Thompson. It is their entire way of life. They are part of a groundbreaking Welsh government scheme under which people get to circumvent tight planning rules so long as they build an eco-home in the countryside and go back to working the land on which it sits.

The ‘One Planet Development Policy‘ was adopted by the Welsh government in 2011 and so far, 32 households have signed up. The aim is ambitious: in a small country where people on average use three times their fair share of the world’s resources, Wales wants its One Planet people to use only the resources they are due. Which means a simpler smallholding life, spending and travelling less, growing and making more…

Want to save the planet? Move to Wales

.

Today’s Irish Times looks at how the programme is going:

.

Is your house’s carbon footprint too high? Then we’re tearing it down

One Change: This is the basis of a fascinating but risky Welsh ecological initiative

Humanity consumes more than 1½ times more resources annually than the planet can reliably provide. This is clearly not sustainable, and in an attempt to spur the public to try alternative ways of living more lightly in the world, the Welsh government has introduced a scheme called One Planet Development that allows people to build new homes and farms in the countryside without the normal planning requirements – as long as their ecological footprint is sufficiently low.

The scheme permits the construction of homes, barns, workshop buildings and all the other paraphernalia of independent homesteads, once their owners can prove that after five years their carbon emissions for all aspects of the construction, and their current way of life, is below a threshold set by the government. If they fulfil the criteria they are granted retrospective planning permission. If not, everything must be torn down and removed.

It’s a complex scheme and a risky one, requiring huge trust on all sides, but it may be what is needed to successfully tackle the challenges ahead. Somehow society is going to have to find a way (in a very short time) to encourage people to produce food and offer land-based enterprises locally in a sustainable way, and also to facilitate the many idealistic young people who do not see a future in the current destructive economic model and wish to provide their own housing and live off the land. During our headlong rush towards globalisation these people were considered a nuisance – troublesome idealists who were hurdles on the path towards progress. They may now offer us all solutions to living comfortably within the limitations of our resources…

Is your house’s carbon footprint too high? Then we’re tearing it down

   
© Vision Group for Sidmouth 2005-2022