The ‘One Planet Development Policy’ in Wales


What does ‘one-planet development’ mean? Well, at the moment, if the entire world had the same level of consumption as the UK, we’d need around three Planet Earths to provide everything that humanity needs. We don’t have three Earths, of course, so it’s impossible for the whole world to consume like the UK. If everyone consumed like the average American, it would be even worse – we’d need five planets. And globally, the human footprint is currently around 1.6 planets and rising. This can’t continue, as it will require nature to be slowly destroyed as we try to get one planet Earth to provide the resources and waste absorption that would require 1.6 planet Earths to provide in perpetuity. It’s very dangerous to continue down this path.

So we welcome a relatively new development in Wales. Their One Planet Development (OPD) Policy means that if you can prove that you can live with a ‘one-planet’ footprint (i.e. you can live in a way that would only require one Planet Earth if everyone on Earth lived like you), then you will be allowed to build a home on your land. This is very important because it’s measurable and provable – unlike many sustainability claims.

See here, here and here for an introduction to OPD in Wales.

What to do

1. Work out what you want to do and how to do it

Do you want to be a smallholder, or build a home on a smaller plot next or inside an existing community, because your job doesn’t require land? What will be your job, and will this require re-training? The one-planet assessment includes your home, your food, energy, lifestyle (including consumption), transport, water supply, sewage treatment, and so you’ll need to do your homework.

Click here for info and advice on smallholding, here for self-build, and here for lots of ideas on re-skilling and reducing your footprint generally.

2. Contact the One Planet Council

The One Planet Council ‘provides a bridge between applicants and local planning authorities, with guidance and tools to support anyone making the transition to this more sustainable way of life. It works also with those who have already made that leap, and with policymakers, academics and landowners.’

To prove their claim in Wales, applicants must submit a planning application containing a ‘management plan’ that sets out their plans to meet these criteria. This includes detailing the land-based businesses they will run to support themselves. When you have secured planning permission you have five years to meet the criteria. You can also use the ‘one planet’ label on your products that has been developed for marketing purposes by the One Planet Council.

Click here to get in touch with the One Planet Council for help with planning applications, management plans and one-planet labelling.