Food and income generation falls short of policy threshold

Two families in a special landscape area in west Wales were unable to prove that they could generate enough food and income from their 'one planet' development to justify the erection of two dwellings, a woodworking workshop and an outdoor classroom.

The Welsh assembly government’s one planet development practice guidance stated that the land use activities on the site had to be quantified in terms of income, food, energy and waste in order to assess whether it was sustainable.  The appellants stated that their various activities involving the production of wood generated a profit of almost £7,000 in 2012-13. They also produced a significant amount of food from the land that they used for their own consumption with electrical needs met from photovoltaic panels and a generator which ran on vegetable oil.

The various projections on predicted income and food generated were likely to be exaggerated, an inspector concluded, noting that the practice guidance required 65 per cent of their income and food to be generated directly from the holding. However, this was unlikely to be achieved and reliance on gifts including food could not be used as an appropriate basis for estimating future income. In terms of the development’s ecological footprint, the appellants claimed that it would achieve the required ‘zero carbon’ footprint required in the guidance.

In the inspector’s opinion more detailed information was required since in seeking to secure permission under a ‘one planet’ policy considerable time and resources needed to be committed to collecting sufficient data which could then be used to provide an objective comparison with relevant sustainability thresholds. As this had not been done the erection of two dwellings was not justified.

Inspector Emyr Jones; Hearing

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