11.05.34: SATELLITE surveillance has uncovered a further seven unofficial communities in England and Wales, bringing the total to 18.
Scottish authorities have confirmed reports of unmapped habitations in the Highlands, following the discovery of a substantial eco-village on the Knoydart peninsula.
The communities are self-sufficient. Each has a resident doctor, teacher and architect, with 20 to 50 inhabitants, half of whom are children.
The buildings are made of turf, wood and stone and have solar panels, water wheels or wind generators. It has recently emerged that the eco-villages are in frequent contact with other settlements in Europe, in particular in France, where as many as 90 eco-communes are known to the authorities. Eco-villagers in England have been threatened with prosecution because many cohabiting couples were unlicensed.
Geraint Owen, who used to live in an eco-village in Cumbria, is angered by the local authorities' decision to demolish the villages.
"We want our freedom," he said. "We're law-abiding and environmentally aware citizens trying to retain our childhood values." PF