First Eco town in the UK being built

Development is currently under way on the UK’s first eco-town. NWBicester is a One planet communities project being led by A2Dominion – a social housing provider specialising in shared ownership properties to enable people to get on to the property ladder.

The development is being built near the town of Bicester in Oxfordshire and will initially contain 393 energy efficient homes – with the goal of reaching 6000 in total. It is a large scale project with at its heart, the notion of making living sustainably easy.

The town aims to be truly zero carbon, it uses rainwater harvesting for 80% of the homes water needs, solar PV panels on all homes as well as a local  power supply for electricity and heat. They’re also creating strong public transport and cycle routes to discourage car use and Co2 creation outside of the home.

The project is part of a wider network of developments which have been built across the globe under the principles of the One planet initiative. This has guided a dozen or so other projects (with more being added on at an increasing rate), the idea is to encourage people to live in a way that can be sustained on only the one planet that we have available rather than in the current way which would require 6 to 9 planets to support the human population. Importantly the idea is to make it easy for the inhabitants to live in this sustainable way. 

Although there can be no doubt that people recognise that there is a need for reduction in Co2 emissions, and although this recognition is not new, this has not happened,  many people have undertaken behavioural changes but the vast majority are unfortunately reluctant to change their behaviours if it doesn’t save them money.  In a poll 85% of people said that they would be prepared to make changes for the sake of the environment but only 51% said they would be prepared to pay more to fly, and just 37% would agree to pay more for petrol, essentially, it appears that the vast majority of people are willing to change to help the environment but not if it’s an effort, this project aims to make the best of that and enable people to live sustainably without the need for extra effort or expense.



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Written by TreeThinker

Passionate about the Earth and those who inhabit it. An engineer (BEng (Hons), MSEE) from Oxfordshire, UK, specialising in designing for a sustainable future. A member of the Society of Environmental Engineers and a keen environmental advocate who volunteers for several grass roots sustainability groups. I work full time as a project manager for a renewable energy company based in Oxford and also run ‘TreeThinker’ (; converting previous pasture land into a rich permaculture farm growing produce for sale locally. I deliver workshops on sustainable living, including building renewable energy technologies, as well as workshops for schools discussing 'Energy as a resource' amongst other topics. I am qualified in ‘Information, advice and guidance’ (level 4) and experienced at teaching practical skills. I'm also a keen cyclist and have a love of wordplay - writing a blog on etymology (

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