As household energy bills are set to skyrocket in April, one couple has told how their “off-grid” lifestyle has left them with virtually no bills to pay.
All it took was for Matthew Watkinson and wife Charis to move from their Essex home to a converted horsebox on a Welsh farm.
And they took their children, seven-year-old Elsa, and Billy, four, with them, The Mirror reports.
The property was created using the Welsh Government’s One Planet Development scheme, which allows homes to be built on agricultural land outside normal planning areas if they satisfy certain criteria.
And this has allowed the foursome to grow their own food, make their own electricity using solar and wind power, and create their own gas from food waste.
They also make extra cash from selling eggs and honey, and they clean and teach others how to live their lifestyle, too.
Matthew, who claims to have built the home at a cost of around £30,000, said: “We still pay council tax, internet and for mobile phones, but there are zero utility bills. I love it – and getting rid of all those bills is brilliant.”
And last year, he told Wales Online: “We thought the honey would be a bigger part [of the business] than it is but all this relentless wet weather we get from August has meant we don’t quite earn as much from the honey as we thought we were going to but we’re earning more from teaching.
“It’s always an evolution on these One Planet Developments.
“You make a plan but you’re predicting five years in the future – God only knows what you’re going to be doing in five years.
“You have to work with the land and work with the conditions to find the right balance.”
Another couple highlighted living a cheaper lifestyle in Wales is Matthew Plumb and girlfriend Lauren Youngs.
They live in the wild in a shepherd’s hut for four years with their cat called Baby – and they only play £25 every six weeks in bills, all of which is on propane gas.
The couple said: “It’s mental how much money you can save.
“I spend nothing on rent, zero on electric as we get all we need from solar panels and about £25 every six weeks on propane gas.
“I have four pigs that I breed and 20 chickens we use for meat and eggs.”
The One Planet Development scheme is a Welsh Government policy that gives grants to specific sustainable development projects, fitting into 14 categories, such as being close-to-zero waste compatible and meeting certain carbon analysis rules.
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