After having their plans rejected once by British planning institutions, a small group of families has been granted permission to build a small ecovillage in the Welsh countryside. The tiny village, to be called Lammas, is planned to cover a 74 acre site of pasture and woodland.
Planned to be completely independent of national infrastructures, water would be drawn from springs and rooftop rainwater collection. Electricity would come from local, renewable sources such as small-scale ethanol production and an existing water turbine. All houses would be built out of straw bale, earth and timber, with rammed earth floors and hemp fiber insulation, and would include compost bins and composting toilets.
The Lammas website features incredibly detailed plans regarding every aspect of the community's existence, including site layout, architectural and transport plans, an ecological footprint assessment and detailed business plans. Closely following Permaculture planning concepts, the "low impact" village concentrates residences and compact, intensive functions in a denser core, with less intensive functions spread out along its edges. A significant portion of the community's land will be set aside for natural woodlands, containing native plants.
Planning permission for the community became possible when the Pembrokeshire County Council implemented a "low impact development" policy, requiring a high level of self-sufficiency in local households' use of resources. Pembrokeshire is one of two local authorities in the UK with such a policy regarding local sustainability.
Below is a short film about the Lammas initiative, courtesy of www.undercurrents.org.
For more detailed information, check out Lammas' website at www.lammas.org.uk.
This post is part of an ongoing series examining current and future trends in ecological city building ahead of the 2008 Ecocity World Summit during Earth Day Week in San Francisco this April.