Friday 14 February 2020

One Planet Development

Gweithgareddau’r Cyngor Un Blaned - One Planet Council is a quango managing sustainable development in Wales. One Planet Development offers a transition to a more sustainable way of life, by providing a way for people to live and work on their own land, with measurable social, economic and environmental benefits. Seems that there is a clatter of crusties living across the water in Pembrokeshire. Cob houses, bender-tents, vardas [as R for Romani], are being used for shelter and everyone shits-in-a-bucket - not the same bucket, or at least not all at once, I guess.

Such people have been with us (or against us?) since the 1960s when long-hairs with no obvious means of support and no strong ties to bricks & mortar began to replace Romani and Traveller folk as they were bullied and hectored and cajoled and encouraged to give up their peripatetic lives and become settled. If you know who to ask [anyone whose dog has a bandana round its neck?], you be able to find a squat or a hidden village, or a roiling community of alternative people who have decided that they prefer life without television, this year's sneakers, holidays in Barbados and a cubicle job to pay for all The Stuff.

I came across Un Blaned in a tiny homes youtube video which opened a window on the life of Grannie Emma, who lives in a round house built of straw-bales and mud, with ash-poles, butyl rubber and sod for the roof. You can see the ends of the ash-poles [R] which support the deep over-hang of the roof: necessary to cast water far from the mud-plaster walls. One of the many nice things about Emma's house is that although it is off-grid it is fully compliant with the planning process and building standards. The Welsh government is committed to  pushing the envelope of what is normal and allowable for the Principality's housing stock because they have embraced sustainability. Or at least they are prepared to let some citizens live the alternative dream; so long as they "are required to meet their basic household needs (food, energy, water, waste assimilation, and money to pay for IT/communications, council tax, clothing, and transport) from land based activity within a 5 year period". The state does want people to be free to live in unsuitable unsustainable houses that will be blown down as soon as the big bad wolf Storm Ciara huffs and puffs. It requires a reasonable level of sound architecture and engineering, so that the roof don't leak and the walls stay more-or-less vertical.

Last year and the year before Un Blaned persuaded some of the prior approvees to have Open House [and sell a few home-made scones] and invite a sustainable number of visitors to try the compost t'ilets "of various levels of sophistication". A number of these locations seem to be associated with Lammas Ecovillage, Glandwr, Pembrokeshire. Interested? Save the date for 2020: Mon 27th July -- Sun 2nd August 2020. The Book: The 'One Planet' Life: a blueprint for low impact development - a snip at £32!

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