Use of hemp in architecture and design held back by “ridiculous” UK rules says farmer

CANNANNEW REPORT

A film producer who established a hemp farm to “pull carbon out of the atmosphere” has attacked UK laws that are holding back production of the biomaterial. Architects are “desperate” to specify products made from the cannabis variety in their projects, said Steve Barron, who has converted a Cambridgeshire estate into an organic hemp farm and built a house from the plant. Steve Barron (above) built his house (top) using hemp from his own fields But lack of research needed to approve the material for use in construction, plus drug laws that prevent much of the plant from being processed, are hampering the UK’s hemp industry, he said. “We’ve probably had three or four hundred architects who have emailed us,” said Barron, who bought an abandoned wheat farm four years ago and turned it into hemp-producing Margent Farm. “They’re desperate for a natural material and a carbon-zero way of building houses,” he said. “Everybody’s looking for it. The market’s definitely there but it needs deregulation.” Barron’s house intended to prototype “sustainable hemp-based construction” Barron, who directed seminal pop videos including Michael Jackson’s Billie-Jean, Dire Straits’ Money for Nothing and A-Ha’s Take On Me, used hemp from his fields to build his own house. He embarked on the project to explore hemp’s potential both in the fight against climate change and as a high-performance, non-toxic construction material. “The plan was to grow fibre hemp to sequester carbon from the atmosphere and use a fair amount of it to build the house,” Barron explained. Barron’s Flat House in Cambridgeshire, UK, was designed in collaboration with Practice Architecture Flat House, described as “a groundbreaking, radically low embodied-carbon house,” was designed in collaboration with Practice Architecture while Cambridge University biomaterials researcher Darshil Shah advised on the production of the hemp materials. The three-bedroom house “was designed with the aim of prototyping prefabricated sustainable hemp-based construction to…

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Source : Use of hemp in architecture and design held back by “ridiculous” UK rules says farmer

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