Contributing Monkie Sarah Backhouse
Published on August 18, 2008
Who would have guessed that a big pusher for a greener Britain would turn out to be none other than Prince Charles? The Prince of Wales, who published details of his personal carbon footprint in 2007 and is also trying to reduce those of the royal household, has long been a campaigner for the natural world. And it appears that his latest project will allow HRH to meld his interests in architecture, organic produce, sustainability and the environment, all into one… town.
Dubbed “eco-town”, planners from the Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment and the developer Red Tree have been granted permission to build “Sherford, a brand new town for 12,000 people, in South Devon that is billed as Britain’s greenest settlement”.
An estimated half of Sherford’s energy needs will come from renewable sources like wind and solar. 390 foot wind turbines will loom over the town while homes made from building materials sourced within a 50 mile radius will come with solar panels in their roofs. Businesses (which will provide jobs for 7,000 people) will have their roofs covered with greenery or rubble to encourage wildlife. Cars will be banned from some parts (every household will get a free bicycle) as will PVC windows and buildings over five storeys. Homes and shops will be within close proximity of each other to reduce carbon emissions, and all waste — including sewage — will be recycled.
“Despite having all the latest green technology, the town is designed with a traditional look,” says the UK’s Daily Mail — complete with cricket pitch and bowling green.
There has been some opposition to the Prince’s plans as it “will concrete over a large swath of green countryside”, destroying a mile of hedgerow (resulting in the loss of wildlife habitats). And then there’s the issue of the giant wind turbines, which will obscure the view of a nearby fort. This last issue is particularly sensitive to the Prince, as he opposed plans “to build a wind turbine in his own backyard at Balmoral”.
Hmmm, so is it a case of do what I say, not what I do? Barring that slightly hypocritical glitch, it seems the Prince’s plans for Sherford are based on some sound green foundations.