As World Environment Day was marked yesterday, Shropshire residents were doing their own bit for the planet. Rural Affairs reporter Sarah Probert looks at the UK's first eco-village.
It is a unique neighbourhood which took more than a decade to get off the ground.
Planners were uneasy about the prospect of a new village built on farmland in the middle of the Shropshire countryside, until they were persuaded this settlement would be a whole new way of living.
The Wintles, a collection of homes a short distance from Bishops Castle, is remarkably different from the new build estates cropping up across the country.
The Scandanavian-style homes are not only extremely energy efficient, but also promote a new way of living by encouraging people to work from home, car share and be kinder to the environment.
The village, which currently has just 12 houses but will eventually expand to accommodate 40, has been designed by Living Villages, a housing organisation based in Shropshire.
"We have a real cross section of residents from a baby of four weeks to an 89-year-old living here. They are professional people from teachers to town planners and nurses," spokeswoman Helen Ford said.
" The residents were attracted to the houses, and the way they looked. The fact they are eco-friendly is a bonus.
"It took us a long time to get it through planning, I think we were very fortunate that south Shropshire was controlled by Liberal Democrats at the time, as they have quite green principles."
The 18-acre site has 13 acres of communal land, including an orchard and allotments.
The eco-homes have triple glazed windows in solid wood, are built to zero heat standards, and include under floor heating from a LPG gas boiler. It has solar panels, heat recovery systems, woodburning stoves and an internal vacuum cleaning system.
The houses exceed the new national standard for energy efficiency, share valley views, and have been designed to create "home zone" areas linked by pedestrian priority access.
They face south to get as much natural heat as possible and thousands of trees are planted around the edges of the site to give it even more protection.
The Wintles now has a forest growing around it, including a labyrinth of fruit trees, and also allotments for people who enjoy gardening and growing their own produce.
Bob Tomlinson, director of the company, said: "In a time where soulless housing estates contribute to the breakdown of communities, Living Villages neighbourhoods are designed to promote conviviality, neighbourliness and a feeling of belonging.
"We call it 'a sense of place' - an identifiable neighbourhood that people enjoy and feel at home in."
Ms Ford said Living Villages was now looking for new sites to create more ecovillages and promote a new type of living.
"We are planning future developments and we are looking at an opportunity in Scotland. "We are approached by developers all the time, because they see it as really exciting," she added.