"I don't suppose I'm the only person who has always dreamed of owning a piece of land on which I can build myself an affordable eco-house and grow my own food and fuel. In my fantasy the land is big enough to support several households, inhabited by all my favourite people, so we can share the joys and the chores in our own little eco-community.
The reason this is difficult to achieve in the UK is the vast disparity between the price of agricultural land (£4,000 - £10,000 an acre) and so-called 'development' land, i.e. land with, or the potential for acquiring, planning permission (PP) to build a house on (£50,000 - £150,000 for less than a quarter of an acre).
Easy to achieve my dream then if I'd won the lottery, earned or inherited vast amounts of wealth, or even if I was willing to go abroad where land is cheaper and the planning regulations less onerous. Perhaps I'm just getting overly cautious as the years go by, but the thought of having to learn a new language and then navigate a foreign legal system and health system just makes me feel weary... and sometimes angry - why the *bleep* should I have to emigrate; why aren't I allowed to do this here?
Politicians continue to trot out the usual rhetoric: "sustainable development, sustainable lifestyles, sustainable communities, zero carbon housing, blah, blah, blah". However what, if anything, has actually changed on the ground (groan!) to make land accessible to the grounds of Permaculturists, Transitioners, or other people seeking 'the good life', of modest means and self-sufficient dreams? What are the rules and do they vary depending on whether you are in England, Scotland, Wales or Ireland?
This book is the culmination of several years of research and is offered to you in the hope that if enough of us start to demonstrate that we really are willing and able to live sustainably, given half a chance, that the powers that be will recognise us as a resource to be celebrated."