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Pembrokeshire eco village project awarded grant
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The Pembrokeshire, Wales, based Lammas ecovillage project has won a £350,000 grant to build a centre for the research, education and promotion of low-impact development. The building will form a centrepiece to a new-build project of 9 eco-smallholdings in the Preseli Hills in North Pembrokeshire. The grant is part of a UK government initiative in which 10 community projects from across the UK have been awarded up to £500,000 for pioneering carbon-reduction approaches.
Pembrokeshire eco village project awarded grant

The Lammas project promises low-carbon lifestyles, carbon neutral housing and carbon positive livelihoods, with a projected net carbon sequestration rate of approximately 90 tonnes CO2 per year. The residents will source all their water, heating fuel and electricity from the land and will develop land-based micro-enterprises supplying food and craft to the locality.

Paul Wimbush, Lammas project coordinator, said: “We are absolutely delighted to have won funding for our community education centre. This will enable us to reach out and inspire people to create their own sustainable land-based lifestyles. The 'Community Hub' building will be a launch-pad that will celebrate and promote the new opportunities that are available to create eco-smallholdings in the open countryside. Opportunities that provide self-build homes, create carbon-positive livelihoods and revitalise our rural economy, all in a way that benefits our natural environment.”

The Lammas project benefits from a new planning policy initiative in Pembrokeshire called ‘Policy 52, low-impact development’, under which new eco-smallholdings are permitted in the open countryside if they are able to demonstrate a sincere commitment to sustainability. There are now 12 households in Pembrokeshire benefiting from the policy, the most recent being a small woodland enterprise, Coedwig Blaen Llwydiarth in Maenclochog, in which Jenny Carr and Tony Cutajar were granted temporary permission for a dwelling by a Welsh Assembly Planning Inspector two weeks ago.

There are plans afoot within the Welsh Assembly to expand the Pembrokeshire Planning Initiative to being available across the whole of Wales .

Paul Wimbush continues: “We have an unprecedented opportunity here to transform rural Wales by simply working within a robust framework in which people can build themselves an eco-smallholding if they are truly committed to sustainability. What is more, it is completely affordable - the average Lammas smallholdings cost approximately £80,000. The potential here is enormous. Wales is committed to becoming a one-planet nation by 2050. The best incentive that you can give people to live a one-planet lifestyle is a self-reliant eco-home in the countryside with a potential livelihood attached.”

The news comes as the first building of the Lammas project is nearing completion; a turf-roofed roundhouse which will provide temporary accommodation for Simon Dale, Jasmine Saville and their two children whilst the family builds the rest of their smallholding. The building took two months, cost under £4000 and attracted over 50 volunteers. It incorporates straw-bale walls and a rammed earth floor.

Construction on the Community Hub building will begin in February 2010 and take 12 months to complete. The building will be made largely from locally sourced tree-trunks stacked up in a Canadian log-cabin style and will include a range of innovative features such as a prototype wood-powered cooker. It will incorporate a café and a shop and will sell produce from both Lammas residents and other local people engaged in land-based livelihoods. The Lammas project plans to run its first open day in April 2010.

Nerys Evans, Assembly Member for Mid and West Wales said: "I'm extremely pleased to support the Lammas project. I've visited the site on a couple of occasions and am very impressed with the positive vision they have for the area. We currently face many economic and environmental challenges and the work being carried out by Lammas in tackling these issues at a local level is vital.

We are all living beyond our means, and it's important for us when building a sustainable future to look at what's possible within our own communities and villages. It's vital therefore that we learn from the Lammas scheme and I look forward to seeing the completed project."

Credits:: Photo:- Simon Dale, Jasmine Saville (on the left) with neighbours outside the first Lammas building.

Rating:  0 (1)  Add feedback ...

 Positive review of this story
  Franklin Grimes 
4 Feb 2010, 11:06 PM 
Why isnt this happening in the States?
These people dont put any strain on State services, it seems a win/win

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