Balancing Economy and Ecology
'B E E'
In the UK today there are a number of factors changing the nature of how we live and work.
Across the UK there are shortages of good quality rental housing, and rents in some areas are higher than a monthly mortgage payment. During 2020 house prices still managed to rise by 8%, necessitating the need to find even larger deposits.
There is also a shortage of good quality jobs across the UK and even with an above average salary, making the monthly payments will be near impossible.
There is however an increase in young professionals who are enabled to work from any place provided they have access to a high speed data connection. In the main this sector of people are looking to live in a different way.
The Tiny House movement has fuelled the idea that you can live in a small movable home, as evidenced in America and other parts of the world. However, in the United Kingdom with the present planning constraints it would be extremely difficult to purchase a plot of land and move a Tiny House onto it permanently. This is especially true on land that is designated agricultural, unless you intend to farm the land or create a small holding; prove your permanence.
NaviHo came from the idea that it is indeed possible to have aesthetic, affordable, transportable, and transitional homes in the UK, and hence 'NaviHo' is an abbreviation of the term, 'Navigable Homes'. From our first concept home to the present day we have been experimenting to find the most viable solution to create a site that solves a number of the issues already mentioned, along with the preservation and rehabilitation of nature - to restore our planet's vital ecosystems. NaviHo is committed to Balancing Economy and Ecology.
The new agricultural roadmap will mean rewards for sustainable farming practices. Over a seven year period these changes will be introduced: -
ELM (Environmental Land Management) will consist of three components:
The Sustainable Farming Incentive, which will support approaches to farm husbandry that deliver for the environment, such as actions to improve soil health, hedgerows and integrated pest management,
Local Nature Recovery, which will pay for actions such as creating, managing or restoring habitats, natural flood management and species management,
Landscape Recovery, which will focus on landscape and ecosystem recovery through projects looking to achieve large-scale forest and woodland creation, peatland restoration, or the creation and restoration of coastal habitats, such as wetlands and salt marsh.
In a statement to the Oxford Farming conference the Environment Secretary stated:
“We want farmers to access public money to help their businesses become more productive and sustainable, whilst taking steps to improve the environment and animal welfare, and deliver climate change outcomes on the land they manage... Rather than the prescriptive, top down rules of the EU era, we want to support the choices that farmers and land managers take. If we work together to get this right, then a decade from now the rest of the world will want to follow our lead.”
Tony Juniper, Chair of Natural England, said:
“This plan marks an historic shift in the way we manage our land, setting us on course toward the production of sustainable food at the same time as rising to the urgent task if halting and reversing the decline of Nature... More than two thirds of England is farmed and this plan paves the way for those who manage the land to produce healthy food alongside other vital benefits, such as carbon storage, clean water, reduced flood risk, thriving wildlife and beautiful landscapes for everyone to enjoy... At Natural England we look forward to working with this plan to breathe life into England’s Nature Recovery Network, including through the very exciting ambition to create large scale Landscape Recovery Areas.”
Agritourism and Farm Diversification
Data collected by UK GOV suggests that over 60% of UK farmers are 'having' to diversify. Finding other income streams that can run alongside traditional farming. With many farmers struggling, especially in the livestock and dairy sector, high degree of mental illness, money worries and a suicide rates are higher than the national average. It was found, however, that localised income can potentially increase the viability of smaller farms and subsequently benefit the wider local economy.
There is no one easy solution for Farmers and Land owners, but by offering a range of possibilities it may be possible to bridge the gap; Balancing Economy and Ecology in favour of the Farmer/Landowner.
Providing holiday-let accommodation is one way in which farmers and land owners can diversify, and provides a high-value but seasonal revenue stream. Renting land to residential tenants provides a lower but conversely reliable year-round return. Utilising a land-use mix ensures steady, reliable revenue is generated from land rent and is combined with seasonal bonuses from the holiday sector.
Farmers and Landowners can also diversify using existing buildings and unviable land for alternative business use. Permitting micro business and workshops to set up shop provides a significant source of revenue in terms of rent, while also bringing customers into the local area, generating further business for complimentary service providers. The more adventurous landowners are moving towards the placement of industrial warehousing and business units on their land, providing a home for a number of these complimentary service providers.
In some areas of the UK the choice as to the type of site to run, or which land-use mix to utilise, may be greatly impacted by the relevant permissions required. This is an area NaviHo is able to help landowners navigate and manage.
BEE - The NaviHo Rewilded Eco-Village
What is the BEE concept? NaviHo Balances Economy with Ecology by utilising land that has no obvious commercial benefit, for example; non viable agricultural land, a landowner who has no interest in farming, areas prone or likely to flooding, and redundant commercial areas. Because our low impact building systems require no hard foundations we can sympathetically re engineer the habitat (rewilding) and introduce our small eco buildings into the landscape.
A mix of buildings are utilised across the site for residential and leisure purposes, and areas dedicated to small business, education, leisure and social activities are created. The inclusion of a business hub provides a workspace for on-site home-workers and a drop-in facility for visitors and nearby residents. A cafe, restaurant and visitor centre are all placed to provide outstanding views and serve residents and visitors alike. The buildings used for these purposes are comprised of bespoke designs as well as existing buildings that have been converted. The site is accessed from the road via a communal covered parking area, where drivers park their vehicles under an area covered by solar panels with charging points available underneath.
The facilities on the site are revenue-generating and provide jobs. The site's management team, comprising of paid stewards, are able to live either on or off the site. A number of the residential dwellings are inhabited by remote-working professionals who are able to work from home. For a number of the young professionals the site provides their first independent home and their first place of work. Residents are able to offset their site management contributions by assisting in the management of the site.
The area designated as village allotment and orchard provide food to supplement the village income. Animal husbandry is a skill taught on-site to groups of residents to help maintain the herds of large herbivores, the presence of which is part of the balance that naturally manages the grounds.
Educational features are a cornerstone of the BEE. Courses and lectures cover land management, sustainability, woodlands, wetland, and bio diversity. A learning programme is available to facilitate enterprise; woodworking, hedge laying, metal work, design, craftsmanship, as well as fundamental skills that are so often missed such as practical knowledge; how do things work? The BEE education modules deliver a range of skills to in order for individuals to learn best practices in a number of different disciplines.
The NaviHo Rewilded Eco-Village is a model that works as a whole ecosystem, or specific parts can be selected and implemented either separately or in combination on any site, depending on the needs of the local ecology, community, counsel and the landowner. For more information please contact us via our website.