Saturday, November 3, 2012

Hope for Self-Sufficiency! Could Permaculture Influence Future Sustainable Development Policy?

Wales leads planning revolution as new Practice Guidance document is released to simplify the process of gaining planning permission on 'open countryside'.

A new advisory document has been released which will aid people in making planning applications for sustainable development on open countryside in Wales, but which could potentially also lead to change in the uk and abroad.

These developments, referred to as One Planet Developments must:

  • commit to provide for the income, food and energy needs of all the inhabitants, and manage their own waste
  • have either a positive or neutral effect on the environment, demonstrated through a footprint calculation each year, known as the Ecological Footprint Analysis (EFA)
Lammas in Pembrokeshire was one of the first One Planet Developments, where construction began in 2009. It is hoped that such examples, along with the new guidance, will help demystify the difficult process of gaining planning permission on undeveloped land in the countryside.

What the New Guidance Covers

It is usually almost impossible to gain planning permission for undeveloped land. Building your own One Planet Development offers a viable and satisfying way to live on open countryside, in harmony with the environment. This doesn't mean that you won't still be very closely monitored by planning officials, and there are some very important criteria that you must meet. The new advisory document explains in plain terms how to get started, laying out:

  • the practical requirements to complete a successful planning application for a One Planet Development
  • how to prepare a Management Plan (explained in more detail below)
  • the requirements of the Ecological Footprint Analysis (EFA) which is used to monitor the success of the development

A Place for Permaculture Design

Importantly, the advisory document specifically names permaculture as a sound option for achieving the objectives of One Planet Development – "as permaculture is intrinsically site-based and focused on low environmental impacts, it is so often linked to One Planet Development... Permaculture has a long association with development likely to meet the necessary requirements due to its intrinsically holistic nature." More