Your thoughts please

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  • I just want to see what people think about this one...

    Currently in general British housing is not green to say the least.

    If you could build self sufficient (Energy wise), carbon neutral homes would you allow them to be built on the greenbelt / in the countryside where currently regulations say it is a no go? (Obviously working on the basis that you were in a position to make that decision!)

  • I don't see why the greenbelt and countryside should be preserved as some chocolate box hyper reality for the rich. That is essentially the group of people who predominatley live in the rural environment. If environmentally friendly housing could be built that didn't require the other infrastructure to sustain it.. i.e more tarmac roads, then I would allow people to build low impact dwellings in greenbelt. Up the road from me they've just built a massive car showroon on what was promised would be greenbelt when they put a ring road round the village. Its inevitable that urbanity creeps steadily into the green belt so yeah.. people who are not gonna harm the environment in any way should be given planning over anyone else IMO.. however I know that planning is a very shady affair and the last thing they think about really is impact on the environment.
    Having worked on building sites where they were building environmentally friendly housing I really don't see why all housing cannot be built like this.. with extra insulation and to compliment natural light sources, with water recycling systems etc. Perhaps I am being naive but it would be nice to think that by the time Charlie is my age that these kind of considerations are common place within planning.

  • I do believe in environmental eco friendly dwellings too but I am not sure about building on green belt land. Sadly, it wouldn't be the house I would worry about so much if it was an eco house but some of the people that may live in them. I don't mean this to sound crap, as I know it does seem very judgemental but time after time I have seen houses encroach on the countryside, like housing estates. Then where the gardens of these house end and are fenced off backing on to fields, you will find so much rubbish just dumped over the back fence. I get so angry when I see this, it is like people want to live in a town, have the benefits of fields blah blah but don't give a shit about dumping rubbish in them.

    I think we have to stop somewhere and green belts have been good for that, otherwise by now I am sure there would be more concrete than grass. I think there are plenty of dwellings, and unused plots of land in towns and cities that should be used first, then see about more dwellings on green belt. When I squatted in London it was criminal about the amount of empty buildings that needed doing up to live in, while the homeless walked the streets. Ok that was the 80's but I can't see it has changed that much. To stop squatters the councils would diliberately smash up toilets and essential parts of a house making it uninhabital for anyone. Then they would be left for months to years on end. And then they say there is a housing shortage.

    I really would encourage eco buildings, as we hope to build a cob house ourselves one day, in the near future. But maybe folk need more education on respecting the countryside around us too... that includes farmers as they have an uncanny knack of often being just as crap at poluting the land.

  • What good would that do?! Still gonna be the same amount of pollution coming out of the non ecofriendly homes. I love the countryside around where I live. If they insisted on building on it, then yeah, I'd rather it be eco-friendly housing that they built, but, I don't think there is really a need to build on green-belt. There are plenty of other sites.

  • eco-friendly housing on greenbelt land?.... no..i wouldnt want to see any new development on greenbelt.. and i agree with StormyPagan... few people respect the small amount of countryside we have left. There is a shortage of usable housing...i see that...i drive a lot in my job and wether its cities, town or villages theres always boarded up homes. If these are government owned they should be brought back into stock....if they are privately owned then owners should be penalised for having unoccupied dwellings. There are so many other ways to increase housing stock without encroaching on Greenbelt land

  • i do not think any housing should be built on greenbelt land. (i dont see this land as only for the rich, only today i was out walking on beautiful greenbelt land) as already mentioned in this thread there is masses of empty houses and other sites that can be used for housing. if we came to a situation where all houses were full and all sites built on then maybe we would have to think again.

    i believe all housing built should be eco-friendly with solar hot water and solar panels and wind turbines generating electricity where possible and the other things starfly mentioned like water recycling etc. i also hope that this could happen by the time our children are grown-up although in reality i doubt it!

    i have recently been looking into buying woodland as an alternative to buying land to build an eco-home on as all land is really expensive. unfortunatly there is little chance of getting planning permission to build on your own piece of woodland. on one hand this is great as it preserves the woodland as just that but on the other it is not greenbelt land and a small strawbale roundhouse would not really impact on the enviroment.

  • Quote from samsimillia


    i have recently been looking into buying woodland as an alternative to buying land to build an eco-home on as all land is really expensive. unfortunatly there is little chance of getting planning permission to build on your own piece of woodland. on one hand this is great as it preserves the woodland as just that but on the other it is not greenbelt land and a small strawbale roundhouse would not really impact on the enviroment.



    i also looked into buying woodland..and to be honest i'm still considering it.... for one its cheaper than arable land or land that has planning permission...

    i had friends who bought a plot of land with woodland when the A1 cut off a corner of a landowners land... they couldnt get planning permission for a permanant home so they bought a large mobile unit 25k and spent another 20k on getting utilities and a cesspit... water was already there for horses... ... 4 yrs later they have had no problems and they have the most amazing set up...even if they are bordered by A roads....the woodland hides it and dulls the noise...

    its worth still exploring samsimillia...

  • Quote from pabsy

    its worth still exploring samsimillia...



    yes i intend to.... the official line seems to be no planning permission except in special circimstances but i have heard other stories like that of your friend.

  • Quote from Stormypagan

    I do believe in environmental eco friendly dwellings too but I am not sure about building on green belt land. Sadly, it wouldn't be the house I would worry about so much if it was an eco house but some of the people that may live in them. I don't mean this to sound crap, as I know it does seem very judgemental but time after time I have seen houses encroach on the countryside, like housing estates. Then where the gardens of these house end and are fenced off backing on to fields, you will find so much rubbish just dumped over the back fence. I get so angry when I see this, it is like people want to live in a town, have the benefits of fields blah blah but don't give a shit about dumping rubbish in them.

    I think we have to stop somewhere and green belts have been good for that, otherwise by now I am sure there would be more concrete than grass. I think there are plenty of dwellings, and unused plots of land in towns and cities that should be used first, then see about more dwellings on green belt. When I squatted in London it was criminal about the amount of empty buildings that needed doing up to live in, while the homeless walked the streets. Ok that was the 80's but I can't see it has changed that much. To stop squatters the councils would diliberately smash up toilets and essential parts of a house making it uninhabital for anyone. Then they would be left for months to years on end. And then they say there is a housing shortage.

    I really would encourage eco buildings, as we hope to build a cob house ourselves one day, in the near future. But maybe folk need more education on respecting the countryside around us too... that includes farmers as they have an uncanny knack of often being just as crap at poluting the land.


    Hear hear - to most of ya in this thread. Though I am unsure what a greenbelt is - some land with green on it? Excuse my ignorance but I have to learn sometime, right? If houses can be built eco friendly etc then I also think they should all be done like that!

  • Quote from Boy Anachronism

    What good would that do?! Still gonna be the same amount of pollution coming out of the non ecofriendly homes. I love the countryside around where I live. If they insisted on building on it, then yeah, I'd rather it be eco-friendly housing that they built, but, I don't think there is really a need to build on green-belt. There are plenty of other sites.


    They should just convert non-economic homes to be friendly ones. In the name of our environment. Stuff the cost - they should be willing to help with the expense if they really want to save our world.


    Question: Is there much worth saving now bar the wildlife we have left?

  • there are some grants available to make your home a little greener energy wise. like this sort of thing HERE!



    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

    A green belt or greenbelt is an area of largely undeveloped wild or agricultural land surrounding or neighbouring an urban area. A similar concept is the greenway which has a linear character and may run through the urban area instead of around it. The more general term in the U.S. is green space or greenspace, which may be a very small area such as a park.
    In some countries, development in green belt areas is heavily restricted. Aims include:

    • protecting the natural environment;
    • improving air quality in urban areas;
    • ensuring that urban dwellers have easy access to the countryside, with consequent educational and recreational opportunities; and
    • protecting the unique character of rural communities which might otherwise be absorbed by expanding suburbs.

    Sometimes, development jumps over the restricted greenbelt area, resulting in the creation of "satellite towns" which, although separated from the city by green space, function more like suburbs than independent communities.
    The protection of green belts was pioneered in the United Kingdom, where there are fourteen green belt areas, covering 16,716 km², or 13% of England; for a detailed discussion of these, see Green Belt (UK). Another notable example is the Ottawa Greenbelt in Canada.

  • Quote from samsimillia


    i have recently been looking into buying woodland as an alternative to buying land to build an eco-home on as all land is really expensive. unfortunatly there is little chance of getting planning permission to build on your own piece of woodland. on one hand this is great as it preserves the woodland as just that but on the other it is not greenbelt land and a small strawbale roundhouse would not really impact on the enviroment.



    hi, i didnt read all the posts, so someone might have already suggested this, i looked into buying woodland a few yrs ago, and your allowed to build forestry buildings. and you dont have to be company or nothing,
    check this out http://www.woods4sale.co.uk/planning_legislation.htm
    you might find a few loop holes in there u can work with.

  • No house can really be totally eco-friendly - if you build 1000 houses in some fields - all that vegetation still dissappear, and that's not allowing for the extra infrastructure - even the greenest dwellings still need some kind of sewrage solution. The thing is, development is always incremental - so you allow one development and then another one is applied for soon after, at an ever increasing rate, until a small village becomes a town and then you've got the need for extra roads and facilities whether you like it or not.

    The best bet is to demolish older houses and build eco-homes on brown field sites, although this rarely makes sense financially as it's cheaper just to grab another virgin field.

    If humankind is insistant on having more places to live I think cities should expand skywards like american cities rather than into the country. Certainly at least in recent years houses have been having smaller footprints and plots, with an additional floor to makeup for the shortfall!

    LOL @ starfly for suggesting that the countryside is the domain of the rich! If there are any wealthy land owners around here, I certainly have never met any. Indeed, the land owner with the largest amount of land drives around in a rotting metro van most of the time and looks like him and his son could use a good square meal.

    Also LOL @ suggesting the countryside shouldn't be preserved for the people that live here. - It should be preserved for the sake of the countryside, not for the benefit of any one group of people!

    I'm sure we all want to live in a "utopia" of green fields and serenity, maybe even living off the land, but if everybody did the landscape would be far more scarred than it already is now.

  • Quote from TREASON

    check this out http://www.woods4sale.co.uk/planning_legislation.htm
    you might find a few loop holes in there u can work with.



    No real loop holes that I can see. Setting up a caravan seems the nearest thing you could get away with, although it contradicts itself in a way by saying you can have one "for shelter" but any dwelling must not be capable of being suitable for "an overnight stay".

    If you want to live there properly, the case of the bloke that lived in the woods for years and then made a rustic dwelling is a good example (it was on Channel 4's "Grand Designs" programme). I think this document even refers to this case, see under "Residential Use" title. The fact that the guy in question was very much dedicated to his woodland and running it as a viable business, yet STILL had to wait some 10 or 15 years to get permission is enough to convince most people that the woodland route is not a quick-fix or way to side step planning issues with other solutions.

    I think he had been living either in a caravan during bad weather or outside under a plastic sheet, etc. Great if you've always wanted to do this type of work, not so if you're looking for an easy ride!

  • Quote from pabsy

    i also looked into buying woodland..and to be honest i'm still considering it.... for one its cheaper than arable land or land that has planning permission...

    i had friends who bought a plot of land with woodland when the A1 cut off a corner of a landowners land... they couldnt get planning permission for a permanant home so they bought a large mobile unit 25k and spent another 20k on getting utilities and a cesspit... water was already there for horses... ... 4 yrs later they have had no problems and they have the most amazing set up...even if they are bordered by A roads....the woodland hides it and dulls the noise...

    its worth still exploring samsimillia...



    Did anyone see that proramme a few years ago when this guy built a cob house on woodland and was only allowed to because if he left it would have to be pulled down, and his business was burning charcoal from the woods he lived in. I was so inspired by him. I guess that is one of the exceptions too!!

  • Quote from crap muppet

    I just want to see what people think about this one...

    Currently in general British housing is not green to say the least.

    If you could build self sufficient (Energy wise), carbon neutral homes would you allow them to be built on the greenbelt / in the countryside where currently regulations say it is a no go? (Obviously working on the basis that you were in a position to make that decision!)


    No, id rather demolish homes that are left derylict and use the materials from them to make the new eco friendly homes on the same land
    we cant loose more countryside:(

  • Cheers for people's thoughts on this. It seems that pretty much everybody has the same sort of thoughts as me on this one. Some friends and I had a pretty heated duscussion on this the night before I put up the first post...

    I think it came up after the recycling program on BBC2 and we had gone away to look at earthship style housing.

    I am slightly surprised at how one sided everybody is on this though - more positives came up on the idea of greenbelt living with my mates...

    With Earthships, all sewerage is processed on site using Reed beds that mean eventually come up with fertiliser and you are looking after a small holding that means that you will more than likely be creating something more sustainable and better for wildlife than the industrial farming methods in use today. Electricity is generated locally using renewables and water is supplimented by rainfall. The walls of the building are made out of waste materials that are currently blighting our landscape and very difficult to dispose of.

    With every building having some level of small holding the density of the properties should be low enough to help reverse the wildlife loss that has happened with the dissapearance of hedgerows.

    My main arguments were like quite a lot of yours - using existing brownfield sites! It has certainly turned around the wastelands that had existed in Manchester... its just a shame that very few of them are eco-friendly!:(

  • Quote

    With every building having some level of small holding the density of the properties should be low enough to help reverse the wildlife loss that has happened with the dissapearance of hedgerows.



    You're an impressive man to try and argue that building in greenbelt reverses wildlife loss! ;)

    Though I see your point, you still can't get away from the fact that even a small dwelling (and particulary with reed beds) takes up a sizeable footprint. Sure, it's okay for very small numbers of dwellings - but not really the future direction for the mainstream.

    I was actually thinking about the points raised in this topic whilst dozing off to sleep last night (!) and somehow concluded that all new dwellings even in rural areas ought to be no bigger than 10x10m, but several stories tall and house several families.

    Like I said, I was half asleep so not really an idea more a dream.. ;)

    It would never happen anway because people would complain about the eyesore and then proceed to build all over the landscape instead of building up. ;)

    I wonder - why did chinese and other eastern civilizations regulary build upwards?

    http://www.dallasbonsai.com/st…ntiquethreetowercombo.jpg

  • Quote

    I wonder - why did chinese and other eastern civilizations regulary build upwards?



    Okay, I did a bit of research and it seems it was mainly because of religious thinking - particulary buddhism, though they were not automatically a religious building in the same way a church or mosque is, merely a companion building. In addition:

    "While most pagodas were built for religious purposes, they can also be used for enjoying distant views, for military supervision (ie: use as watchtowers), or as navigational aids to travellers and ships. Some pagodas, such as the Three Pagodas in Dali, have also become symbols of their locality."

    edit: that was a quote from wikipedia btw, hence the links which not really of much use here *blush*

  • Quote from cymru_jules

    You're an impressive man to try and argue that building in greenbelt reverses wildlife loss! ;)



    I'm not necessarily... but I hope you see my point! - Its just that the comments have all been very one sided compared to what I would have expected.

    Has anybody done any research and published it on the web about high rise city vs. low impact living?

    I know you all see it as 'building on the greenbelt is bad whatever' but I would be interested in any projections about it if they exist.

    We have as a society moved a fair distance from the low impact lifestyle from substanance living that we had a few hundred years ago.

    Its all good living in highrise buildings but they do damage to the greenbelt... People in these buildings will still need fresh food and because of economies of scale I'm sure it would be large scale industrial farming that supplied them.

    I know that it was required in a way to be where we are today technology wise but I wonder if maybe we will as a society start moving back to this, taking the technology we have picked up along the journey with us?

    Or maybe the self-sustainable low impact lifestyle just doesn't suit human society any longer?

  • Fascinating thread....



    I don't think i would build on greenbelt land..but would hope i could re-fit back to back housing , high rise flats and such.. or demolish all of them and start afresh ...
    With the population just reaching 60 million , i don't think it would solve any problems building on greenbelt and ignoring everything else..

    I watched that 'grand designs' episode and that gent was a inspiration...though other episodes showing 'environmental' builds..made me angry [well the whole programe does actually-huge bloody ego builds, rather then eco builds]...
    Rich people buying large segments of the countryside for themselves and two kids, seemed a waste of space.. plus the financial cost of building them, is beyond the vast majority and may make them feel better..but it is still a luxury ...see, i am well angry.

    Quote

    I was actually thinking about the points raised in this topic whilst dozing off to sleep last night (!) and somehow concluded that all new dwellings even in rural areas ought to be no bigger than 10x10m, but several stories tall and house several families.



    I guess i agree with this...

    apologies for not adding much..

  • Quote from TREASON

    hi, i didnt read all the posts, so someone might have already suggested this, i looked into buying woodland a few yrs ago, and your allowed to build forestry buildings. and you dont have to be company or nothing,
    check this out http://www.woods4sale.co.uk/planning_legislation.htm
    you might find a few loop holes in there u can work with.



    cheers mate... yeh i had been on that site, i'm sure there are loopholes if i decide to go down that route.

  • I truely hope it wouldnt come to that, the fact the only land left is greenbelt. Of course I would love my home to be in a beautiful spot altho not at the cost of badger sets & ancient trees. If there was an alternative I would take it for sure. Even knocking down some disused houses is better to make way for an eco housing. The options are endless when it comes to approperate sites...green belt land no way!:down:

  • Quote

    Or maybe the self-sustainable low impact lifestyle just doesn't suit human society any longer?



    I just don't think there is enough room really... I mean, if everybody lived this way the countryside wouldn't be a utopia but more an over-worked wasteland even allowing for the most careful of peeps??? I wonder how much land is actually required to self sustain an individual? Certainly the amount of land suitable for this kind of living falls well short of the total land mass of the uk I would wager!

    I think also the land needs of somebody living a more traditional existance are larger than somebody living a mainstream lifestyle.

    Come to think of it, if we couldn't import food any longer I wonder what the shortfall would be and if we could make enough food to actually feed everybody... the second world war saw a huge army of mostly "land girls" mobilised to feed the nation, even though we still had lot's of imports coming from overseas in convoys - and even home produced basic stuff such as bread, milk and meat all had to be rationed.

    Agriculture is a fraction of what it was then and the nations needs are that much higher - I certainly think if we had to live that way again it would be much though, though off topic perhaps a little now.

  • The " green belt " is the governments way of trying to make cities a little more eco friendly. the best way to live in harmony with nature, is to live in nature. so build ( non-destructivly) in the forests and wood lands, across plains and meadows and use there own resources as your own. it worked for our ancestors did it not?

    "The problems that exist in the world today cannot be solved by the level of thinking that created them."
    - Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

  • They should just convert non-economic homes to be friendly ones. In the name of our environment. Stuff the cost - they should be willing to help with the expense if they really want to save our world.

    Question: Is there much worth saving now bar the wildlife we have left?



    I agree lets convert non economic homes .Its not hard to fit solar panels under ground water storage for rain water to be used for toilets ect .I've worked on projects to build eco houses in the past and theres alot we can do to our homes now to make them better , and as for building on green belt land NO WAY i livein the countryside and its getting full of rich tosser from towns and citys who want a quiet life with know noise after 2 two 3 months they moan about the church clock striking every hour ,cows moo ing or the smell ,chickens making nes ect ect well I'm sorry but thats the counrty side if you don't like it fuck off back to where you come from . And eco housing would be full of them types of people

  • I wonder how much land is actually required to self sustain an individual? Certainly the amount of land suitable for this kind of living falls well short of the total land mass of the uk I would wager!



    Think you need approximately 2.5acres for a family of four - that's 0.6 acres per person (assuming a mainly vegetarian lifestyle). The UK is 244820 sq km in size which is 60,496,339 acres. At the moment the population is 60,943,912 give or take which allows for just under an acre per person.

    Admittedly not all of the land would be usable for crop growing but it depends how you utilise the land you have available.

    As to only building on brownfield sites rather than greenfield - some of the brownfield sites out there are much more ecologically diverse, supporting a much greater range of wildlife, than the average field. Just because it isn't cute and fluffy or big and leafy doesn't make it any less interesting or important. More wildlife is being lost in cities through building on brownfield sites than anywhere else.

    If you were to build on greenfield (or anywhere for that matter) the utilisation of green roofs (or brown roofs depending on your target species) plus the incorporation of wildlife friendly features can result in a net gain for wildlife. Add compostable toilets, renewable energy sources (not so much those miniture wind turbines, waste of money), rain butts, natural greywater treatment (reed beds) and you've got a pretty good thing going.