Thursday, September 18, 2008

Secret EcoVillage In Wales Discovered

Tony Wrench and Jane Faith outside their home in Brithdir Mawr, Wales. Photograph: Phil Rees/Rex Features
Unknown to authorities an ecovillage was secretly erected in a Welsh national park and was only discovered during an aerial survey of the park.

It has taken 10 years; but, authorities at Brithdir Mawr, in Pembrokeshire, ruled that the environmentally-friendly settlement reminiscent of Bilbo Baggins’ home in the Lord of the Rings could remain. The buildings, made up of timber-framed, turf-roofed roundhouses, were secretly made by the inhabitants looking for a sustainable way of life. They lived there unnoticed until the aerial survey which was carried out in 1998.

At first, the villagers were threatened with eviction and the authorities said the roundhouses which were built of straw, timber, recycled materials, clay and manure were to be torn down and left to decompose naturally.

However, the villagers fought back believing strongly in their way of life. It took a decade of hearings, court cases and inquiries; but, they finally won and the settlement has been saved from destruction.

Amazingly, the village is very progressive in some ways using solar power and a wind turbine for electricity, compost toilets, reed beds, a workshop and a hay barn.

Water is collected locally, and the villagers survive by working the land and carrying out craft industries such as woodcarving.

After the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority adopted a new policy on sustainable, low-impact developments, it was decided to give the village permission to stay.

A spokeswoman said that meant the community would have to make a "positive environmental and social/economic contribution to the area".

"It was pleasing that support could be given at this stage for this longstanding, complicated case," she said.

The national park authority will review the decision in three years.

1 comment:

Kathi said...

Wow, living in the States, I'm amazed they let them stay. Kudos to Wales!