After an exhausting planning process, during which the initiative was twice rejected by local planning authorities, a group of families building a 74 acre ecovillage in Wales won £350,000 (over half a million US dollars) in grant money from the UK government last week. It took a lot of convincing, but for the folks at Lammas, the third time was the charm. Despite fitting in nicely with a local "low-impact development" policy, planning authorities were hesitant to grant Lammas planning approval. However, after receiving over eight hundred letters in support of the project, the plan was finally approved in August of 2009.
Construction began right away, and within two months, four of the project's nine families were already living on the site and the community's first permanent building was almost complete.
Then came the news. As part of its "Low Carbon Communities Challenge," the UK's Department of Energy & Climate Change had chosen Lammas as one of ten communities to receive grants for promoting innovative approaches to low-carbon development.
Building according to permaculture principles and based on low-impact lifestyles, Lammas is expected to sequester some 90 tons of CO2 per year. The community is planning to use the grant to build a "community hub."
Reacting to the decision, project coordinator Paul Wimbush had this to say:
"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."
Construction on the new building will begin in early 2010 and last 12 months. According to a Lammas press release:
"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."