Ecological Land Co-op publishes its first annual report; feedback welcome

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ecological land co-op

NB: the Ecological Land Co-op set a precedent in England (following the success of Lammas Ecovillage in Wales) by gaining planning permission for homes on smallholdings outside the development zone (in Devon), by agreeing to abide by strict ecological criteria (regarding off-grid electricity generation, local, natural building materials, organic agriculture, making a livelihood from the land etc.). They have now published their first annual monitoring report – you can see how they’re doing, and they’re happy for you to feed back to them. Over to Zoe.

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This is our first report and we very much welcome comments. To download the report, follow the link here.

We believe that the creation of sustainable rural livelihoods is one of the best solutions to our most pressing environmental and social problems.

fruit trees

Newly-planted fruit trees.

Small-scale ecological production protects the environment and reduces greenhouse gas emissions by reducing fossil fuel use. Such businesses help build a vibrant, living countryside in which humans flourish alongside our cherished landscapes and natural biodiversity, and have a crucial role to play in ensuring food and energy security. They also provide employment, access to local, sustainable food and crafts and educational opportunities for urban visitors, helping to maintain rural skills and to improve ecological literacy.

Such small scale enterprises also allow residents to be rooted in their rural locality, helping maintain and regenerate rural communities and the services upon which they depend such as local schools and shops. Ecological footprint analysis show that residents of ecological land based businesses use less than half the natural resources used by the average UK resident and are currently the only form of development in the UK which comes close to achieving One Planet Living*.

Rainwater storage tanks.

Rainwater storage tanks.

Our first annual report on progress at Greenham Reach smallholdings is now available.

Our Annual Monitoring Report assesses progress against the objectives we set ourselves in our whole site Management Plan for our pilot project: a cluster of 3 affordable smallholdings in Devon for new entrants to ecological agriculture.  The principal objectives we set are to: maintain and enhance the habitats and species diversity; maintain and enhance the landscape quality; and facilitate the provision of low-impact livelihoods and an increase in productivity, without prejudice to the first two aims.  The project was granted planning permission in April 2013.

We report on: the state of the soil and habitats; the visual impact of the project; energy generation and use; waste treatment; water use and treatment; livelihoods created; volunteer and educational opportunities; the sustainability of the dwellings; and traffic generated.

solar

Installing the 4.3kW solar pv system.

*One Planet Living is a term to describe living in such a way that a person uses only their fair share of the world’s resources, calculated on a global per capita basis. It is currently estimated to be around 2 hectares per person. The UK average is currently about 5.5 hectares per person.