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Eco-home ruled a danger to dormice


30th July, 2007

The Roundhouse, an eco-home in the Pembrokeshire Coast National Park, faces demolition after an ecological survey concluded that it threatened biodiversity.

The park planning committee ruled that the reed bed filtration system and organic garden installed by Roundhouse owners Tony Wrench and Jane Faith had replaced undisturbed semi-natural vegetation, endangering protected species such as dormice and bats.

This decision is the latest twist in Tony Wrench’s ten-year battle for retrospective planning permission, and a test case for Pembrokeshire county council’s radical new planning policy. Introduced last year, this policy grants planning permission to low-impact developments (LIDs) that meet stringent sustainability criteria.

Campaigners for self-sufficient housing have responded to the decision with dismay. In a letter to the park authority, ecological designer Mark Fisher accused them of having ”double standards”, arguing that: “I don’t see the national park using ecological surveys to condemn the broadscale agricultural practices that go in the park.” He said that this landmark decision showed that: “any genuine attempt at integrating human existence with wild nature” will “be stamped on by whatever means.”

This article first appeared in the Ecologist July 2007


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