7 May 2014 — A family smallholding in Caerphilly has become the first One Planet Development in Wales – and the world – to receive permanent planning permission.
Nant-y-Cwm farm, nestling in farmland just north of Cardiff, is home to Dan and Sarah Moody and their five children who had already been working their 16 acre land for four years and were seeking retrospective planning permission from Caerphilly Council.
They decided to apply for planning permission under One Planet Development, a forward thinking policy by the Welsh Government which provides a way for people to live and work on the land with social, economic and environmental benefits.
In addition to meeting planning regulations, applicants are required to produce a detailed management plan and ecological footprint analysis which demonstrates their commitment to sustainable living, including how they will provide for at least 65% of their basic household needs from land based activity within 5 years.
Dan and Sarah are overjoyed by their success which they put down to hard work and their close links with the local community.
Sarah said: “It’s been a really tough journey. We have come from camping in a field with our children, the youngest being only 4 months old at the time, to building a low-impact dwelling and livelihood that can support us”.
Cllr Ken James, Caerphilly County Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Planning & Sustainable Development, said: “We were satisfied, following lengthy discussion with the applicants that their proposals complied with the One Planet Development policies, subject to a number of strict conditions”.
Jane Davidson, previously the Welsh Minister responsible for the introduction of the One Planet Development policy and now Director of INSPIRE at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, commented “I was delighted to hear about the Moodys’ success with their One Planet Development application. Wales is unique in having a national commitment to support those who want to demonstrate that it is possible and desirable to live in a way that reduces their impact on the environment. I hope that the success of this application will pave the way for others who want to pioneer living lightly on the land and in doing so help others think about actions they could take to harness local resources better”.
In addition to producing meat, eggs and a wide range of fruit and vegetables, some of which is sold to local residents, the smallholding also supports different local causes. Kaleidoscope, the Cardiff based charity is one example, through which people recovering from drug and alcohol addiction come to help out and gain useful experience.
It is the family’s aim to be “examples of sustainable living like John Seymour”, whose book on self-sufficiency has been an inspiration to them.
The Moody’s, whose farm includes a working horse, feel that it’s important that policymakers and planning department officials understand the difference in productivity that arises from land managed in this small-scale way compared to modern conventional agriculture. Dan says: “We have learned that we are able to work the land in an incredibly productive manner and that we are able not only to feed ourselves but also to derive a substantial income from our activities.”
They hope that now many other families and groups will be encouraged to try the same thing.
Information for editors
The One Planet Development policy stems from Wales’ Sustainable Development Scheme, called “One Wales: One Planet”, which includes an objective that: “within the lifetime of a generation, Wales should use only its fair share of the earth’s resources, and our ecological footprint be reduced to the global average availability of resources – 1.88 global hectares per person in 2003”. In 2006 the ecological footprint for each Welsh citizen was 4.41 global hectares.
One Planet Developments should, according to the Welsh Government guidance [see http://bit.ly/S563E8], initially “achieve an ecological footprint of 2.4 global hectares per person or less in terms of consumption and demonstrate clear potential to move towards 1.88 global hectare target over time”. They are assessed using an ecological footprinting tool devised by the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI).
Applicants, policy makers and planners are supported by the new One Planet Council.