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27.05.03
Remote Cornish farm is a environmental showcase

A farm in West Cornwall is being highlighted by Defra as a good example of the sustainable policies the department is promoting nationally.

Bob and Liz Scambler, of Bosigran Farm, near Pendeen run an organic farm and a business that sells and encourages the use of biodegradable and washable nappies. The business is run from architecturally important 200-year-old barns which have just been restored with a grant from Defra.

The 156 acre farm is managed under agreement with the West Penwith Environmentally Sensitive Area Scheme and the Scamblers, who are National Trust tenants, were one of the first farms to go organic in Cornwall. The farm is grazed with traditional breeds of cattle and sheep including a stretch of coast designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest.

Liz Scambler became involved with environmentally-friendly nappies when her own children were young. She now runs a business, called Lollipop, from the farm.

Liz said: "It takes about 500 years for a disposable nappy to decompose in the ground and in the UK alone 63 million disposables are discarded each week which is an unsustainable situation.

"We want to educate the public about the benefits of using biodegradable nappies instead and we already supply a large number of local authorities who give them free to their residents."

Liz and her team of 12 workers design specifications and colourful patterns for the nappies and place orders with manufacturers. They then sell and distribute the nappies across the UK through a network of agents, mostly mothers who have used the products themselves.

This work takes place using the latest computer equipment in 200-year-old stone barns built of local stone and slate.

The project was led and designed by the National Trust building department who invested £40,000. With Defra providing a grant of £17,000 and the Objective One Rural Development Grant Initiative of £49,000, also part funded by the department, this enabled the work to bring new life to an historically important building which was previously left derelict and in a poor state of repair.

The work was carried out using traditional methods and materials and many of the original features of the barn have been restored.

Liz said: "We now have a thriving business on the site and we are also looking to manufacture some of the nappies locally which will create new jobs and cut down on the financial and environmental costs of transport."

Peter Bowden, Defra Rural Development Service senior adviser, said: "Bosigran Farm is a superb example of many of the things Defra is trying to achieve through our environmental schemes.

"We are trying to promote sustainable farming through organic production and we are also encouraging farmers to diversify, especially into environmentally friendly businesses. In Environmentally Sensitive Areas like West Penwith we are also trying to save the historic landscape including buildings, for future generations while still providing a viable, working economy for local people."

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Editor's notes:

 

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Jason Clark
Communications Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Tel: 01872 241379
Fax: 01872 241388
jason@dclark.co.uk

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